A FORMER secondary school teacher, who ran a green grocer business and craft centre in Clonakilty, is the new mayor of the West Cork town.
Gretta O’Donovan, originally from Connonagh, near Leap, takes the title from John Loughnan.
Clonakilty is the only town in Ireland with its own mayor after the government abolished all the statutory town councils in May 2014.
Local history group, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage, organised a special election in which nine people stood for the position of non-political, community, voluntary mayor.
Some 1,600 people voted and five candidates were elected, and since then have held the position of mayor for one-year terms, in the order in which they were elected by the people.
Gretta follows Colette Twomey, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, Anthony McDermott and John Loughnan.
Another election will take place next May to elect five more people for the coming five years.
Mother-of-four Gretta says if she has one wish for her year, it is to inspire people to put their names forward for nomination in 2019.
The 74-year-old taught home economics in the town’s Vocational School, before going on to run a green grocers with her husband Dan and open the West Cork Craft Centre, where she sold and showcased local artists’ work.
Moving to Germany with the family, she taught English and retired back to Clonakilty in 2011.
‘I worked out recently that I have moved 11 times! I’ve big shoes to fill, but I’m deeply honoured to be mayor and am looking forward to my year ahead,’ she said.