McGahon takes Dundalk Municipal District chair
Fine Gael councillor John McGahon was elected as Cathaoirleach of Dundalk Municipal District thanks to the rainbow pact between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens which had led to complaints over the filling of the County Council chair the previous week.
Cllr McGahon, who served as Cathaoirleach two years ago, was nominated by party colleague Cllr Maria Doyle, seconded by Cllr Conor Keelan of Fianna Fail.
Sinn Fein's Cllr Antoin Watters was proposed by his fellow party member Cllr Ruairi O Murchu and seconded by Independent poll topper, Cllr Maeve Yore.
Following the vote, which saw Cllr McGahon get seven votes to Cllr Watter's three, the Dundalk man was deemed elected.
In the race for Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Marianne Butler was proposed by Cllr Doyle and seconded by Cllr Keelan, while Cllr Yore proposed herself.
Cllr Butler was elected on similar margin of votes. Three councillors, Sinn Fein's Edel Corrigan and Thomas Sharkey and Cllr Erin McGreenan were absent.
Taking the chair, Cllr McGahon welcomed newly elected members Cllr Liam Reilly and Cllr Sean Kelly and congratulated everyone else on retaining their seats. He also paid tribute to those who were no longer on the council, former Cllr Anne Campbell, who lost her seat, and councillors Mark Dearey and Peter Savage who retired, acknowledging the contribution they had made.
Cllr Marianne Butler congratulated Cllr McGahon on his election,
She said she was delighted to get the roll of Leas Cathaoirleach, recalling that she had been vice-chairperson of Dundalk Town Council when Mark Dearey was appointed to the Seanad, and Cllr Martin Bellew had been chairperson.
She suggested that they should try to hold meetings throughout the Municipal District and said she would like to have a meeting fairly quickly in Dromiskin as this was a new area for them to get to know. Dromiskin was included in the Dundalki Municipal District in the boundary changes proceeding the recent local elections.
As there wasn't a full attendance, it was decided to defer the nomination of members to various boards and committees until the next meeting.
Councillors also decided that meeting should be held at the traditional time of 5.15pm despite meetings co-ordinator Alan Sherry informing them that more council officials would be able to attend meetings if they were held at 4.15pm. It would, he said, facilitate engineers who could be present for discussions on the taking in charge of estates.
Cllr Maeve Yore said she would have no problem with the earlier time if it meant getting more staff there and more answers for the people of Louth.
However, Cllr Emma Coffey pointed out that a number of councillors worked, and she personally have difficulty if the time was changed.