Saturday 18 November 2017

Rugby legend elected mayor in Munster heartland

Barry Duggan, Greg Harkin and Edel O'Connell

A rugby legend was last night elected Mayor of Limerick.

Gerry 'Ginger' McLoughlin, who helped Ireland win a Triple Crown in 1982 and Munster defeat the All-Blacks in 1978, became the city's 816th mayor following a voting pact between the Labour and Fine Gael parties.

Former FG senator Pat Kennedy had hoped to become mayor but his own party shunned him after he repaid travel expenses worth over €5,500 to three associations for publicly elected representatives and Limerick City Council.

Mr McLoughlin said one of the challenges he wants to address is unemployment.

"With the massive regeneration by the State, I contend that regeneration will count for nothing if the local labour force is not to the fore," he said.

He was elected to Limerick city council in 2004 after running as an independent candidate in the local elections and was elected again in 2009 after joining Labour in 2006.

He won 18 caps for Ireland and scored a memorable try against England in the Triple Crown campaign of 1982.

In Donegal, a publican's son whose campaign led to an investigation into gardai in Co Donegal was elected mayor of his county last night.

Labour councillor Frank McBrearty, however, failed to get the support of Fianna Fail who breached a previous electoral pact with other parties.

Mr McBrearty, the son of Donegal publican Frank McBrearty snr, first came to public attention as the innocent victim of a murder investigation in 1996.

This led to the establishment of the Morris Tribunal and revelations of garda corruption.

Naoise O Muiri was elected as the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

The Fine Gael councillor from Clontarf was elected as a result of an ongoing voting pact with Labour.

He beat an independent candidate by 32 votes to six.

The Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein groups abstained.

History was made in Cork with the election of new mayors for the city and county.

Cork Co Council elected Cllr Barbara Murray as new County Mayor -- the first Fine Gael woman ever to hold the post.

Cllr Murray now leads a local authority which caters for over 400,000 people.

Meanwhile, Cork City Council elected Cllr John Buttimer (FG) as Lord Mayor, with his brother, Jerry Buttimer TD (FG), proudly on hand to cheer his election.

Irish Independent

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