BY KIERAN O’MAHONY
NEWLY elected County Mayor, Dunmanway-based Declan Hurley (Ind), feels that a full-time driver should be available to him – similar to the city’s Lord Mayor’s car and driver.
He said he agreed with his predecessor Cllr Seamus McGrath who made the call for such an appointment. ‘I do think there’s a health and safety issue there alright as I could be driving to different parts of the county daily, while at the same time trying to work for my constituents,’ he said.
‘Both offices should have a standard of similiarity and should be on a par with each other,’ he said.
Cllr Hurley said both mayors sometimes attend the same functions and while the Lord Mayor is dropped to the door by his driver, the county mayor has to find parking and get his chain on, etc.
At last Friday’s Council AGM, Cllr Joe O’Carroll (FF) said he also supported the call for a driver for the county mayor. ‘I can’t understand why the Lord Mayor has a car when you can cycle across the city in 10 minutes,’ said Cllr Carroll. Meanwhile, Cllr Hurley said he’s looking forward to a busy year ahead.
On a personal level, he said it was an honour to be elected, following the vote which saw him defeat Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) by 26 to eight votes, with 15 Fine Gael councillors abstaining.
‘I would like a more back-to-basics approach and address our issues with roads, island life and connectivity with communities. I intend to build stronger connections between communities and Cork County Council.’
He hit the ground running following his appointment at last Friday’s Council AGM, when he attended his first official duty at Castletown Races in Coppeen on Sunday, followed by a visit to Charleville Show to meet newly-appointed Deputy Mayor Cllr Ian Doyle. Later, Cllr Hurley attended a celebration event in Dunmanway’s Community Garden to mark his appointment.
On Monday, he will be leading a cross-party deputation to meet with Transport Minister Shane Ross in Dáil Eireann to discuss the issue of funding for the county’s roads.
‘I’ve always believed in bringing the issues of the county to Dáil Eireann and the issue of roads and infrastructure is a hugely important one. We’ve been starved of means of funding and that message hasn’t gone up to government level. We need more resources as our roads are crumbling, which in turn is having a knock-on effect on tourism and our local economy,’ added Cllr Hurley.