Dunmanway's Declan Hurley is our county mayor for the next year â Emma Connolly meets the man behind the chain as he shares a glimpse of his busy life outside of County Hall
Born and bred in Dunmanway â he's from four miles outside the town at Nedineagh. He works what was his family's dairy farm -Â 60 acres and milks 60 cows â and has two Jack Russells named Alfie and Sunny.Â
â¢ He has one sister Irene who lives nearby with her husband and three daughters to whom he is very close â he's already promised them a visit to their school after the summer. Mum and dad are Tim-Joe and Chrissie who are his neighbours.Â
â¢ He is employing a farm relief milker to help him out during his year as Mayor â it will cost him â¬35 per milking â so that's â¬70 a day, seven days a week. He says the extra expenses he will get from his position will go back into managing his farm in his absence.Â
â¢ He adores the outdoors and is an avid cyclist and walker. âI'm happiest when I'm outside and I can clear my head.' He enjoys walking any of the local trails when he can.Â
â¢ Dancing is his passion â country and Irish; ceili and set dancing. His favourites are Mike Denver, Derek Ryan and Mike English who he travels to see when he can at weekends at venues like the Hazel Tree in Mallow and the Gleneagle, Killarney. He admits he's âpretty good on the floor.'
â¢ He doesn't drink alcohol. âIt doesn't do it for me. I'm happier up a hill than in a pub, even though I am sociable. I don't need alcohol â give me a bottle of water and I'm just as happy.'
â¢ He's single â not by choice, he admits. And while he stresses he's not desperate, he is openÂ to meeting someone. Any potential partner would have to be interested in his work (both agricultural and politics/ community); like the outdoors and enjoy dancing (Declan says he's patient and could train her in!).Â
âShe would have to respect me for who I am.' He's not a fan of online dating, preferring that initial spark that comes with a face to face meeting. He stresses he's ânot in the job to pick someone up, but if happened, well and good.'
â¢ The newly-opened Dunmanway pool and complex was the end of a 17-year campaign by Declan which he said was an honour and delight to see come to fruition. He does enjoy a swim but hasn't availed of the facilities yet due to a fractured wrist he sustained from a kick from a cow â âall part of the day job.'
â¢The Independent who was first elected to the council in 2009 describes himself as humble, with his feet on the ground. He entered into the council to work for his community and never envisaged having the chair which he says is a huge honour.Â
â¢ He's very coy about his age and says he's âyoung at heart.' At a push he reveals he is in his thirties.Â
â¢ He does try to cook when he has time but isn't the best in the world. âI wouldn't starve,' he says.Â âI like pasta and Indian food but enjoy bacon and cabbage just as well.'
â¢ The cinema is a place he enjoys going to, to switch off. Fast and Furious is the most recent movie he's seen.Â
â¢ Like he's already said, he'd like to see his position afforded a driver, something which has been called for by his predecessor Cllr Seamus McGrath. He drives a 2013 Toyota Avensis. âI could have four functions in one day; and I'm always very conscious of time â half way through the day you could already find yourself one hour behind. If I had a driver it would definitely be a bonus as I must also do my day job as a councillor and I'd be able to get a lot done by phone.' He feels there should be parity between his office and that of the city's Lord Mayor who has a driver. âThe request is out there âhopefully during my year a driver will be in place.'
â¢ Top of his agenda while he has the reins is getting clarity on the proposed extension to the city council boundary; building stronger relationships between the community and the local authority and focusing on infrastructural issues such as roads. Â