By Emma Connolly
THIS month’s mayoral election in Clonakilty is shaping up to be another lively one with 10 names appearing on the ballot paper.
The town’s people will once again have the opportunity to vote to select their choice of five mayors for the coming five years on Saturday, May 25th.
Each mayor will spend one year each as voluntary, community, honorary, non-statutory ‘Mayor of Clonakilty’ - receiving no expenses or pay.
MEET THE CANDIDATES:
James works in Harte’s EuroSpar and has been very involved in youth organisations in the town including volunteering in the Youth Centre and in Foroige. He is also a lotto officer for Clonakilty GAA and is part of the Tidy Town’s organisation.
Chef Richy has run his own restaurant in the town for nearly 20 years. Originally from the UK, he is married to Johanna and they are parents of three girls. He’s involved in the annual Carnival, is a director of the Model Railway Village and through regular TV chef slots he promotes Clonakilty nationally.
Anthony was a town councillor for 15 years and is an outdoor staff employee with Cork County Council who’s involved in the project to deliver a new Youth Centre for the town and has helped raise over €78,000 to do that. He’s also part of Tidy Towns, Foroige, Special Olympics, Parish Assembly and chairperson of the West Cork Ladies Football Board.
Having worked in London with the police, Eddie decided to move and build a house in Clonakilty where he met his now wife, Roni Coomey. He works as the parking enforcement manager for Cork City Council and is involved in Clonakilty Tidy Towns and the Old Time Fair.
After retiring from the army Paddy worked for a time with Cope and has a long associationwith Clon AFC, fundraised for the community hall when it was originally built and was a previous member of the town’s choir. He says he would be a mayor for all people and wouldn’t bring politics into it.
Michael O’Neill Jnr
Michael of Fernhill House Hotel’s great grandfather MJ, grandfather Cornelius and uncle Raymond have all been mayors of Clonakilty. He would use his time as mayor to make Clonakilty ‘a better town for its people’ and use his marketing expertise from Fernhill House and years in tourism groups to bring more visitors to Clonakilty. He wants to see more trees planted and see the town continue on its sustainability path.
A familiar face on the streets of Clonakilty, Dubliner John retired as the town’s traffic warden last October and recently moved from Skibberen to Clon where he lives with his wife Sheila. He’s been very involved as a volunteer with the Irish Red Cross in the town for the past nine years and is fulsome in his praise for the local people.
Originally from Limerick, Chris moved to Clonakilty in 1978. A retired garda, he’s married to Rose, and over the years has been involved in many organisations including former chair of the Festival of West Cork; vice chair of the South of Ireland Band Championships; past chair of the St Joseph’s Girls parents’ association, the town’s twinning committee, St Patrick’s Day Parade and many, many more.
Padraig has lived in Clonakilty all his life and has worked as a retail assistant in Dunnes Stores for the past 16 years where he is a familiar face on the deli counter. He’s also a retained firefighter with Cork County Fire Services in Clonakilty for the past 13 years. The Red Cross has played a huge role in his life for nearly 20 years. Last year he received a national Volunteer of the Year award from the Red Cross in recognition of his hard work.
Annie moved to Clonakilty 55 years ago from nearby Ring. She was branch librarian in Clonakilty for 22 years and has been involved in the Red Cross, the ICA and the local branch of the Wheelchair Association. She’s been married to Thomas for the past five decades and they are parents of six children (predeceased by two) and have nine grandchildren.