Niall's in the chair

Simon Brouder

Fianna Fáil Councillor Niall Kelleher has been elected Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council.

Cllr Kelleher was elected Mayor at the first meeting of the newly elected local authority on Friday. Cllr Norma Moriarty - Cllr Kelleher's Fianna Fáil party colleague - was elected to the position of Leas-Cathaoirleach.

The 64th person to occupy the chairperson's role since the council was established in 1899, Cllr Kelleher has been a member of Kerry County Council since 2014 and represents the Killarney area.

He has been chairman of the Kerry Joint Policing Committee and chairman of the Local Community Development Committee during the term of the last council.

The 33 year-old father of three - a native of Rathmore who now lives in Headford - said being elected Mayor is a "wonderful privilege and an incredible honour".

"I am immensely proud to be taking on this hugely important role; it is very humbling and the sense of pride I feel is truly enormous," said the new Mayor.

"I will toil long and hard during the year to promote not only my native Rathmore and the town of Killarney, where I work and live, but every town and village and the people that live in them," he said.

Mayor Kelleher identified a number of priorities for his year in office including the support and further development of the tourism sector; the development of the South Kerry, Fenit and Listowel Greenways and dealing with traffic congestion in towns and routes such as the Dale Road that need urgent improvements.

He also wants to press forward with development of the Island of Geese site in Tralee and Pretty Polly and Áras Phadraig in Killarney.

Lobbying for the long awaited Macroom and Adare bypasses will also be a priority.

He also plans to roll out initiatives to make the Mayor's office more accessible and meaningful to the public.