IT’S three in a row for West Cork as another councillor from the area has been elected County Mayor. This time the honour has gone to Clonakilty-based Fianna Fáil councillor Christopher O’Sullivan.
The 37-year-old UL Law graduate topped the poll in last month’s local elections in the Skibbereen West Cork electoral area with 2,703 first preference votes. An avid wildlife enthusiast, he set out his ambitions in County Hall last Friday.
‘I’m a climate activist and environmentalist and this will be the year where the environment dominates our minds. There is so much we can do within the organisation and it needs to start here,’ he pledged.
The voting pact between Fianna Fáil and Independent groupings ensured that the role of county mayor will be shared between them over the next five years, depriving Fine Gael of the coveted position once again. Outgoing deputy Mayor Cllr Mary Linehan Foley (Ind) is expected to take up the top position this time next year.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) nominated Cllr O’Sullivan for the role and said he has ‘steely determination to get things done.’
Fine Gael Cllr John Paul O’Shea nominated Cllr Noel McCarthy for the role.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said his party – which now has only two elected councillors in chamber – was abstaining from voting.
Newly elected Green Party members, Liam Quaide and Alan O’Connor, also abstained as did Holly McKeever Cairns, Social Democrats, who said she felt that as a new councillor she wasn’t given a chance to get to know the candidates. But she added that as a West Cork farmer it was great to see a Mayor involved in climate action.
Cllr O’Sullivan defeated Cllr McCarthy by 27 votes to 21.
Former Labour and now Independent councillor Martin Coughlan was proposed as Deputy Mayor as well as Cllr Anthony Barry. Cllr Coughlan won by 27 to 21 votes.
Cllr O’Sullivan said being Mayor is the ‘greatest honour I have ever had.’ He promised to ‘don the red jersey and promote Cork in its entirety.’
He has been a councillor since he was co-opted in 2007 following his father Christy’s election to Dáil Eireann.