FG's Hegarty wins contest for committee chair

July 26th, 2016 10:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Cllr Mary Hegarty, Bantry, has taken over as chair of the Western Committee of Cork County Council from Cllr Declan Hurley, Dunmanway.

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THERE was a contest for the role of chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Western Committee of Cork County Council despite an appeal to consider rotating the position among ‘all sides of the chamber.’

Fine Gael councillor Mary Hegarty was elected chairperson of the Western Committee of Cork County Council on Monday, after she was proposed and seconded by her colleagues, Cllr Kevin Murphy and Cllr James O’Donovan.

Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) – who was recently co-opted to the Council following the elevation of his brother Tim Lombard to the Seanad – supported Cllr Hegarty, as did the Sinn Féin councillors Paul Hayes and Rachel McCarthy.

Cllr Hayes had hoped the appointment would be arrived at by way of a unanimous agreement to rotate the two key roles, but he was disappointed in his efforts to achieve consensus.

Although neither positions offers any monetary benefit, Cllr Hayes said: ‘It would be important that a member from each party, and independent grouping, would have the honour and opportunity of officiating in the role at some stage during their five-year term.’

In 2014 and 2015, the ‘chairs’ was a representative of Fianna Fáil and an independent,  respectively. Cllr Hayes had – in a previous discussion – suggested that the selection, this year, would result in either a Sinn Féin representative, or someone from Fine Gael, holding the position, and vice versa in 2017. 

But at the AGM on Monday, Fianna Fáil Cllrs Gillian Coughlan and Christopher O’Sullivan proposed and seconded their party colleague, Joe Carroll, who is the outgoing county deputy mayor, for the position. Cllr Carroll lost in a 6-5 vote, despite receiving the backing of the independent Cllrs Declan Hurley and Danny Collins.

There was also a contest for the position of deputy chairperson. Cllr Rachel McCarthy proposed Cllr Paul Hayes for the position and Cllr James O’Donovan seconded the proposal. In a counter proposal, Cllr Danny Collins suggested Cllr Declan Hurley for the position and Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan concurred. However, the vote went along similar lines with a 6-5 majority in favour of Cllr Hayes.

When the voting was over, Cllr Kevin Murphy, who is a member of the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District, asked the members of the Western Committee – which is a joint grouping of both his and the West Cork Municipal District – to kindly remember in future elections that ‘we too are part of one committee.’

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