Griffin has the bottle to lead Mallow

BILL BROWNE

Published 04/07/2013 | 05:26

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The new mayor of County Cork, and outgoing mayor of Mallow, Cllr Noel O'Connor, congratulates the incoming mayor of Mallow, Cllr Johnny 'Bottles' Griffin, at the council chambers on Thursday last.

AS had been widely anticipated, Independent town councillor Johnny 'Bottles' Griffin has been elected as the incoming mayor of Mallow.

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The pact that had ensured no Labour councillor has been mayor during this council held firm as Cllr Griffin took the chain of office from Fine Gael's Noel O'Connor.

Cllr Griffin is likely to be the last person to ever hold the chain of office as town councils are due to be scrapped next year under Environment Minister Phil Hogan's local government reform programme.

Cllr O'Connor (FG) referred to this in his speech prior to the election, saying "this is a historic AGM for this council as it may be the last one."

He described his year in office as a positive one, saying the council had engaged in "good, solid debate" over the previous 12 months. "We made some big decisions, spending lots of money. In my mind our meetings were very constructive, which in my mind is a great case in itself for the retention of the council," said Cllr O'Connor.

He listed out some of the highlights of his year as mayor including the visit of Tipp O'Neill's relatives, the launch of the €1.4 million Mallow refurbishment plan, the completion of the Mallow Flood Plan and the opening of a number of new businesses in the town.

He said his one regret was that he was unable to progress the purchase of Mallow Town Park and expressed his hope that the new mayor would be able to move the process forward.

In addition to his own vote Cllr Griffin secured the backing of Cllrs O'Connor (FG), Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF), Willie O'Regan (SF) and Feargal Cronin (FG).

The five votes were enough to secure the chain from Labour's Ronan Sheehan, who had the backing of his party colleagues Roisin Lucey, James Kennedy and Jerry Mullally.

Accepting the chain of office, Cllr Griffin said it was a "great privilege" for him and his family to be elected Mallow's first citizen.

"I would like to thank my fellow councillors for the great honour they have bestowed on me and to the people of Mallow for voting for me at the last election," said Cllr Griffin.

He also thanked his wife Sheila and his family for their support and spoke emotionally of how proud his late mother and father would have been.

"To the people of Mallow I say my door will always be open to you," he said.

Cllr Fitzgerald beat off opposition from Cllr Mullally for the position of Deputy Mayor.

He used the opportunity to express his dissatisfaction at the proposed make up of the new county electoral areas following the proposed scrapping of the town council.

"Mallow will be in a bigger area that will have only six county councillors instead of nine. To me that will leave the town very unrepresented. So for the time left to us we as a council must work extra hard for the town," said Cllr Fitzgerald.

"There will be a lot of names going forward for those six seats. I would strongly urge the people of Mallow to vote for a Mallow candidate to ensure they have proper representation in the future," he added.

Corkman

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