Fianna Fail’s Cllr Blackie Gavin was elected as the new Cathaoirelach of Mayo County Council at the local authorities annual general meeting on Monday in Castlebar.
The Castlebar based councillor took over the chain of office from the outgoing Cathaoirleach independent Cllr Richard Finn.
Gavin was elected to the position as part of an agreement between the Fianna Fail and independent coalition that have controlled the council since the 2014 local elections.
The newly elected Cathaorileach will hold the position up to next years local elections which will take place in June 2019.
He was nominated to the position by Cllr Al McDonnell and seconded by Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.
There was a large number of friends and family in the public gallery to see Gavin taking office including his mother Dott, two brothers of his brothers Pat and Paul, sister Mary and his two sons Ciaran and Caolan.
In his first address as Cathaoirleach, Gavin said: “I want to work with all groups, organisations and individuals who are promoting our county. I complement all the voluntary groups who work hard to make Mayo a better place to live, work and visit. I look forward to meeting them all at events during the year and supporting them in every way possible.”
Outlining some of the key issues he wants to see addressed Cllr Gavin said he wanted to continue to support the board and staff of Knock airport; to see the completion of the all weather running track and playing pitches in Castlebar that were slated to be part of phase two of the new swimming pool and outdoor pursuits academy located in the town.
He added he also wants to see the continuing roll out of constructions of local authority housing across the county and to see the continued development of the Mayo campus of GMIT.
Cllr Michael Loftus was elected to the position of Leas Cathaoirleach succeeding Fianna Fail Cllr John Caulfied after being nominated by Cllr Annie May Reape.
Speaking about his time as Cathaoirleach, Cllr Finn told the meeting that: “As chairperson of the council I have found that when it comes to serving the people of Mayo, we have more in common than divides us.
“Thank you all for putting Mayo before pettiness and rivalry which was kept to a minimum during my year in the chair.
He also said that one of his many highlights was that where ever he went around the world representing the county - the joy that seeing the chain office brought to Mayo people all over the globe.”
He also gave one piece of advice to the incoming Cathaoirleach saying: “To whoever replaces men I will say this - a year may seem like a long time when it is out in front of you, but it is a very short time when you are looking back at it.
There were glowing tributes paid to the way that Cllr Finn handled the position as Cathaoirleach from all sides of the house before he stepped down and handed over the chain of office to Cllr Gavin for the next 12 months.