First Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Dublin takes office

Críona Ní Dhálaigh will hold position during the capital’s 1916 Rising commemorations

Críona Ní Dhálaigh, the new Lord Mayor of Dublin. Photograph: Sinn Féin website

Críona Ní Dhálaigh, the new Lord Mayor of Dublin. Photograph: Sinn Féin website

 

A Sinn Féin councillor has taken office as Lord Mayor of Dublin for the first time, putting the party centre stage for the capital’s 1916 commemorations next year.

Críona Ní Dhálaigh was elected mayor with 41 votes from the 63 member city council.

Rival candidate Jim O’Callaghan of Fianna Fáil got nine votes, while Independent Mannix Flynn, who was nominated by Fine Gael, received eight.

Three councillors were absent for the vote and Michael O’Brien of the Anti Austerity Alliance abstained.

Ms Ní Dhálaigh is the 346th mayor of the city, but only the eighth woman to hold the office.

She also has the distinction of being the first Sinn Féin politician to take up the position. Tom Kelly was elected to the role in 1920 but never took office, having been imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs prison in London at the time.

Sinn Féin became the largest party on the council at last year’s local elections, taking 16 out of the council’s 63 seats.

A voting pact agreed last June between Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party and some Independents saw Christy Burke, an Independent who was formerly a Sinn Féin councillor, elected lord mayor, with the condition that Sinn Féin would hold the position from June 2015 until June 2016.

First citizen

As first citizen, Ms Ní Dhálaigh will preside over the 1916 Rising centenary commemorations in the capital, alongside the President and the Taoiseach.

Mansion House protocol stipulates that the mayor comes second only to the President at official ceremonies in the city.

Ms Ní Dhalaigh joined the council in 2006, representing the Crumlin-Kimmage ward.

She is said to be popular with fellow councillors from all parties and to have been an effective chair of the council’s housing committee during the housing crisis in the city.

She has been particularly active in ensuring council estates, which were to have been regenerated through deals with developers, were not abandoned following the collapse of the public private partnership (PPP) process.

Speaking after her election, Ms Ní Dhálaigh said housing families would be the priority during her mayoralty.

“My priority for the year to come will be those families who have been waiting years for housing, but also those who, once they get a house, find it is not a home, but a battleground, a place where they must fight every day for basic living conditions.

She also said that realistic, sustainable and achievable solutions to the housing crisis were needed.

“We must ensure that [the] people of our capital city have homes, not just houses . . . I will use my year as mayor to push for all council procurement contracts, in line with EU law, to contain social clauses requiring investment and support for local communities and make our city of equals a place to live, work and grow.”