FG take top spots on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council

Voting arrangement sees Fine Gael’s Marie Baker elected to the chair

A voting arrangement involving Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green party has seen  Fine Gael’s Marie Baker elected to the chair of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council - her second time to hold the position. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A voting arrangement involving Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green party has seen Fine Gael’s Marie Baker elected to the chair of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council - her second time to hold the position. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Fine Gael councillors have taken the positions of cathaoirleach and leas cathaoirleach in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.

A voting arrangement involving Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green party saw Fine Gael’s Marie Baker elected to the chair - her second time to hold the position.

Her party colleague Brian Murphy was elected leas cathaoirleach, again with support from Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Ms Baker easily defeated rival candidates Victor Boyhan (Ind) and Lettie McCarthy of Labour.

She received 22 votes from the expanded 40-member council, while Mr Boyhan received 11 votes from other Independents, People Before Profit councillors and Sinn Féin. The Labour candidate won seven votes and was only supported by party colleagues.

The election for leas cathaoirleach saw the same voting pattern, with the exception of a single abstention from an Independent councillor.

Ms Baker promised a “full-time commitment” to her new position and welcomed the fact that an election for the position - the first in 10 years - had taken place. She noted that half of the new council comprised new members.

“The people have elected us,” she said. “They expect us to get on with the job rather than involving ourselves in grand-standing and party politicking.”

Mr Boyhan told the council the electors of the county had shown by their votes that no one party had an overall majority. “We all have a valid and equal mandate,” he said of the electorate, which he described as a “very diverse mix of people” in the area.

This, he argued, meant there should be no coalition among parties when it came to voting arrangements and support for individual councillors on the council’s various committees.

Cllr Hugh Lewis of People Before Profit welcomed the increase in proportion of women councillors, but was critical of a “shift to the right” in the council chamber. He claimed it is only “a matter of time before Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coalesce”.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council, he said, ought to be a “campaigning council” and not a body which processed “policy from Government”.