Green Party Councillor Erika Doyle has been elected as the new cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District.
Councillor Rory O’Connor proposed Cllr Doyle for the position during the district’s AGM.
Cllr O'Connor said Cllr Doyle is a “wonderful environmentalist” who is “willing to take hard decisions”.
Cllr O’Connor said Cllr Doyle is a “voice of reason”, who is also compassionate in her approach to local politics and could “look at the bigger picture” due to her background as a journalist.
Cllr Anne Ferris seconded the nomination of Cllr Doyle for the office of cathaoirleach.
Cllr Grace McManus proposed Cllr Dermot ‘Daisy' O’Brien for the role of chair.
She said Cllr O’Brien had many skills and experience which would bring many benefits to the role. He has sat on many boards, managed a youth project in Bray and is an internationally recognised facilitator.
Cllr McManus highlighted that Cllr O’Brien had been working to get Wicklow County Council to become a trauma-informed organisation. Many people who come to councillors or the local authority for assistance may be in “deep distress” due to issues including the climate crisis, cost of living and housing, she added.
Cllr Joe Behan seconded the nomination of Cllr O’Brien.
Cllr O’Brien had made many “outstanding contributions” on major issues at the municipal district and the local authority levels. Cllr O’Brien also made sure that the voices of the marginalised, disadvantaged and the young are heard as part of any discussions.
"We have two fine candidates and the district is lucky to have councillors this calibre. But Cllr O’Brien has earned the right to be first citizen of the town,” Cllr Behan added.
In a short address, Cllr Doyle thanked her fellow councillors, and offered her commiserations to Cllr O’Brien.
"You will be a fine cathaoirleach and your time will come”.
Cllr Doyle committed herself to listening during her time as chair, adding that she wanted to voices across the community to have a chance to be heard and participate in local politics.
"As a teenage mother, I didn't feel like I could ever sit in this chair. When reporting on local politics, I saw things that I found frustrating that’s why I got involved. People in the community are entitled to get involved.”
Cllr Doyle said she hoped the next 12 months would see progress on many projects in the district, including cycle lanes, public realm improvements and the return of the Blue Flag to Bray Seafront.
She expressed the hope that the opening of Bray Central would help to rejuvenate the town and retail businesses in the area.
Cllr Doyle also thanked her husband, Deputy Steven Matthews, and children, for their support. Cllr Doyle's family were present for the AGM to see her presented with the chains of office by Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, the outgoing chair.
Other elected members of Bray Municipal District congratulated Cllr Doyle on her election as cathaoirleach.