News Politics

Friday 22 August 2014

Calls for Cox to resign as chair of board

DANIEL McCONNELL Political Correspondent

Published 05/01/2014 | 02:30

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Chairman of the board of Limerick's City of Culture Pat Cox pictured at the public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick. Pic. Brian Arthur/ Press 22.
Chairman of the board of Limerick's City of Culture Pat Cox pictured at the public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick. Pic. Brian Arthur/ Press 22.

AS a heated debate roared on in the Pegasus Room of Limerick's Clarion Hotel, former MEP Pat Cox was called upon to resign as chairman.

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"Why isn't someone who lives in the city chairman," someone in the room shouted.

The question was a telling insight in to how poorly Pat Cox is viewed by some in the city of which he is a freeman.

Dublin-born but raised in Limerick, Mr Cox was schooled at Ardscoil Ris, before attending the University of Limerick and Trinity College, Dublin.

Mr Cox first became known as a journalist, then a presenter, with RTE's Today Tonight, the 1980s version of Primetime.

He entered politics and first stood as a Fianna Fail candidate at the 1979 local elections. He was first elected MEP in 1989 for the constituency of Munster as a Progressive Democrat candidate.

In 1992, he was elected to the Dail, representing the Cork South Central constituency.

He was beaten in the race to become leader of the PDs by Mary Harney in 1993, following the retirement of Des O'Malley. Mr Cox became deputy leader, but he was to fall out with the party shortly afterwards.

He left the PDs in 1994 in a row with O'Malley over Europe. Mr Cox had not been expected to contest the 1994 European elections, therefore allowing O'Malley to become the party candidate.

However, he then decided to contest the seat as an independent, beating O'Malley. He was elected president of the ELDR group in the European Parliament in 1998 and was unanimously re-elected group president in June 1999 following the elections to the European parliament.

Mr Cox resigned this post when he became president of the European parliament on 15 January, 2002.

In 2011, he applied to join Fine Gael and was Enda Kenny's preferred choice to be the party's nominee to run for the presidency, but party delegates rejected him in favour of Gay Mitchell.

Approached to be involved with the City of Culture, Mr Cox has led the defence of the appointment of Patricia Ryan, his former aide, as CEO. He has repeatedly insisted he had no role in her appointment, despite being chairman of the board.

He has been severely criticised in recent days for the perceived attacks on Karl Wallace's performance as artistic director with the City of Culture.

Irish Independent

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