Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe elected Lord Mayor of Dublin

Fianna Fáil dominates council chairs including GP John Sheahan in Cork city

Fianna Fáil councillor Paul McAuliffe was elected as the 350th Lord Mayor of Dublin at Friday’s council meeting. Photograph: Dublin City Council/Twitter

Dublin City Council has appointed its first Fianna Fáil mayor in more than a decade.

Fianna Fáil councillor from Finglas Paul McAuliffe became the city’s 350th lord mayor following a multi-party pact.

Fianna Fáil has not had a Lord Mayor in over a decade since Eibhlin Byrne in 2008, and before that its last was Royston Brady in 2003.

Fianna Fail’s Shay Brennan elected cathaoirleach in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council

To maintain a voting pact on Dublin City Council for the next five years, the support of 32 of the 63 councillors was needed.


With Fianna Fáil on 11 seats, the Greens on 10 and Labour holding eight seats, the support of five others was needed.

Mr McAuliffe comfortably defeated Independent councillor and homelessness campaigner Anthony Flynn and Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam at the inaugural meeting of the incoming Dublin City Council in City Hall on Friday afternoon. Fianna Fáil’s Tom Brabazon was elected deputy Lord Mayor.

Finglas native McAuliffe, a 10-year veteran of the council, is in line to run for the Dáil in the next general election, where the party hopes he will unseat Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who he lost out to for the final seat in Dublin North West in 2016.

Mr McAuliffe paid tribute to his wife Ciara and family and said he was “overwhelmed”at becoming mayor. He cited housing and climate action as his top priorities for his term.

“This council will lead again on public and affordable housing. We will do it on our terms and we will be the lead developers. Housing is a social issue but is also an economic issue. Our failure to tackle housing has damaged families and damaged the competitiveness of this city. The solutions must be delivered and we need to lead by example,” he said.

Mr McAuliffe said he was wearing a small blue pin to champion mental health and mental fitness and the doors of the Mansion House would be open to advocates for mental health.

He said the council will take a lead in tackling illegal dumping and “the scourge” of drug-dealing on the streets.

Independent councillor Damian O’Farrell asked if all three candidates would stay on for the role if some of them are running in the general election.

Outgoing Lord Mayor Nial Ring said the Deputy Lord Mayor would take up the role and until the council reconvened and another new one would be voted in.

Mr Ring recalled recalled the celebration of the first Dáil and the Dublin football team winning four All-Ireland finals in a row as highlights of his term.

“I hope Lord Mayor number 350 has as an exciting term as I had,” Mr Ring said.

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fail has consolidated its position on Dublin’s councils taking three cathaoirligh/mayor positions and one Leas Cathaoirleach.

On local authorities across Dublin, the position of Cathaoirleach is interchangeable with Mayor. The Leas Cathaoirleach is the Deputy Mayor.

At the inaugural meeting of the incoming Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council on Friday afternoon, Fianna Fail’s Shay Brennan comfortably defeated Fine Gael’s Barry Saul by 23 votes to 14.

Although in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Fianna Fáil has only seven seats compared to Fine Gael’s 13, it secured the support of the Labour Party Greens and Independents to take the mayoral role.

The Leas Cathaoirleach position went to Independent Deirdre Donnelly.

Fianna Fáil councillor Eoghan O’Brien was elected Cathaoirleach in Fingal, due to a combination of support from Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Labour and Independents. Tom Kett also of Fianna Fáil was elected Leas Cathaoirleach.

On South Dublin County Council, Fine Gael councillor Vicki Casserly was elected the first mayor of the council’s term, with Fianna Fáil’s Trevor Gilligan her deputy in a majority grouping combined of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and Independents. Under precedent this would ensure that Mr Gilligan secures the Cathaoirleach’s position next year.

Cork City Council

Fianna Fail Cllr John Sheehan has become the first lord mayor of the newly expanded Cork city of 210,000 when he was elected on Friday night with the backing of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael as well Labour’s sole councillor and two independents.

Cllr Sheehan won the contest comfortably when he received 18 votes compared to Sinn Fein’s Cllr Kenneth Collins who received the support of his party’s four councillors and Cllr Ted Tynan of the Worker’s Party who won the support of three councillors on the 31 member council.

Cllr Sheehan’s election came following a week of negotiations between Fianna Fail, who have eight councillors, and Fine Gael, who have seven councillors, and he also secured the support of Labour newcomer, Cllr John Maher and Independents, Cllr Kieran McCarthy and Cllr Ger Keohane.

Cllr Thomas Gould of Sinn Fein, who nominated his party colleague, Cllr Kenneth Collins, strongly criticized the decision by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to return to a pact arrangement after all parties opted to use the d’Honte method in the last council to share the mayorality.

Cllr Gould said that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael had set the council back 50 years with a return to pact politics and both parties were also strongly criticized by Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan, who had nominated Cllr Tynan, accusing both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of “arrogance” in returning to pact.

Six councillors abstained including outgoing Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn and fellow independents, Cllr Thomas Moloney and Cllr Paudie Dineen and three newly elected members of the Green Party, Cllr Dan Boyle, Cllr Oliver Moran and Cllr Colette Finn.

A married father of four, Cllr Sheehan, who works as a GP with a busy practice in Blackpool, lives in Clogheen which is now part of Cork city following its expansion to include areas such as Ballincollig, Blarney, Rochestown, Grange and Glanmire which will see the city’s population increase by 85,000.

In his acceptance speech, the Lord Mayor, Cllr Sheehan said one of the themes of his mayoralty was “connecting communities and he hoped to build connections between the new areas of the city such as Blarney, Kerry Pike, Glanmire, Grange, Ballincollig and other areas of Cork City.

“It means building connections between the new groups who have made Ireland their home whether by choice or through fleeing persecution and poverty in their own homelands. It means building connections in long established communities of Cork such as Shandon and Blackpool.

“It means building connections between marginalised groups of the City so that they feel they are part of the life and blood of the city. It is about being inclusive and making sure peoples are heard and feel part of the city. We are a society not and not just an economy.”

Cllr Sheehan said the boundary extension which is the first in over 50 years poses tremendous opportunities for the city but Cork is also has challenges including global issues such as climate change that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“Nationally and locally, we need as a society to address the housing issue on many levels and to continue to be proactive in addressing the needs of our citizens. Regionally there is the challenge of Brexit and the uncertainty that that brings for investment and planning in our city”.

Fianna Fail Cllr Sean Martin - brother of Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin who was present in the chamber for both elections - was comfortably elected, defeating Cllr Ryan of Solidarity by 18 votes to five with eight abstentions

Warm tributes were paid by all parties and councillors to outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn who was praised for his impartiality and inclusiveness in his chairing of meetings and for his professionalism in his ambassadorial role where he highlighted the historic role of the office.

Earlier at Cork County Council, Fianna Fail Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan from Clonakilty was elected as mayor of Co Cork when he defeated Fine Gael Cllr Noel McCarthy by 27 votes to 21 while Independent Cllr Martin Coughlan was elected deputy mayor of the county.

In Limerick, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael divided the roles between them. Fine Gael’s Michel Sheahan was elected Mayor of the City and County. He was proposed by John Sheahan of Fine Gael and seconded by Michael Collins of Fianna Fáil. Cllr Adam Teskey (FG) was elected as Deputy Mayor.

In Waterford, Labour councillor John Pratt was elected Mayor of the City and County Council.

At Meath County Council, Fianna Fáil’s Wayne Harding was elected as Cathaoirleach and Independent councillor Gillian Toole as Leas Cathaoirleach. In Co Clare, Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe was elected mayor of the county. In Kerry Fianna Fáil’s Niall Kelleher defeated Independent councillor Johnny Healy-Rae for the top post. In Galway city, Independent councillor Mike Cubbard was elected with deputy mayor as Independent Donal Lyons

Any party can put forward a mayor for election, with the candidate who gets the most votes from their fellow councillors securing the chain of office for the next year.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times