Sinn Féin's Gerry Murray is new chairperson in Claremorris District

The elected members of Claremorris Municipal District following election of Cllr Gerry Murray as Cathaoirleach. Back row, from left: Cllr Damien Ryan, Cllr Tom Connolly, Cllr John Caulfield, Cllr John Cribbin, Cllr Patsy O'Brien. Front row, from left: Cllr Richard Finn, Cllr Gerry Murray, Director of Services Paddy Mahon.

The elected members of Claremorris Municipal District following election of Cllr Gerry Murray as Cathaoirleach. Back row, from left: Cllr Damien Ryan, Cllr Tom Connolly, Cllr John Caulfield, Cllr John Cribbin, Cllr Patsy O'Brien. Front row, from left: Cllr Richard Finn, Cllr Gerry Murray, Director of Services Paddy Mahon.

Is the harmonious accord between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in the Claremorris Municipal District a 'glimpse of the future' at a national level? quipped Independent councillor Richard Finn at the electoral area's AGM on Wednesday.

Cllr Finn was speaking after the three Fine Gael councillors and a Sinn Féin representative joined forces for the second year in a row to outvote the two Fianna Fáil members and one Independent and divvy up the top jobs in the area among them.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Murray was elected to the role of chairperson in the Claremorris Municipal District, taking over in the Cathaoirleach's chair from Fine Gael's Cllr John Cribbin.

Cllr Tom Connolly (FG ) was installed as leas cathaoirleach (vice-chair ).

The Fine Gael/Sinn Féin grouping in Claremorris had made the area the sole municipal district, out of four across the county, where an alliance of Fianna Fáil and Independent members is not calling the shots.

"Maybe they are paving the way here at a local level for a national alignment," joked Cllr Finn of the Fine Gael/Sinn Féin cooperation. "Maybe it is a sign, a glimpse of the future."

Cllr Murray thanked his fellow elected members for their support to put him in the role and paid tribute to Cllr Cribbin for his work as cathaoirleach over the previous 12 months.

Cllr Murray has been an elected member of Mayo County Council for 16 years.

In the local election in May 2014, he was elected on the first count with a massive 1,971 first preference votes, despite losing a considerable swathe of his territory in the redrawn electoral boundaries.

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