Cork elects first Sinn Féin lord mayor in 90 years

Cllr Chris O’Leary vows to help fix the housing crisis

Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary with his wife Angela after being elected on Friday night.

Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary with his wife Angela after being elected on Friday night.

 

Cork city has elected its first Sinn Féin mayor in 90 years with Chris O’Leary becoming the first party member to receive the honour since Sean French in 1925.

Cllr O’Leary (55) is based in Mahon on the southside of Cork city and was previously a councillor with the Green Party.

He is a community worker and married father of three.

In his inaugural address he said he was pleased to see an end to the mayoral pact, which previously saw the Lord Mayor’s office being rotated from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.

“Under this system each councillor from every party and none could potentially become Ard-Mhéara. Thus, reflecting the true will of the Cork City electorate at the last local elections. It was the same desire for inclusivity that gave such an emphatic result in the recent Equality Referendum.”

Cllr O’Leary said he had no doubt but that the people of Cork would like to see a fair, equal and more inclusive society.

“As Ard-Mhéara, I pledge that I will be non-partisan and inclusive in all my duties, whether inside or outside the council chamber and to highlight the injustices that make our society unequal. We should remember that decent housing, education and employment are basic human rights. We should all hold the highest standards for these basic rights locally in our great city, nationally and internationally.”

The new Lord Mayor also announced plans to establish a Cork City Housing Stakeholders Forum.

“The solution to the housing crisis is very simple - we need to build more social houses.

“As Ard-Mhéara, I pledge to use my office to highlight this crisis. To put a human face on the suffering of thousands of families who do not have a home of their own.

“I also pledge to promote meaningful solutions to this crisis.

“Local government must be able to meet the housing need of the people. We need to have the money to build and buy more social houses.

“Our homeless services must have the funding required to support those without a home and to assist them to live independently.”