McDonnell becomes county's first citizen

Peter Hynes  (Mayo County Council, chief executive), Cllr Al McDonnell the newly elected Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and Cllr Christy Hyland the newly elected Leas Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council. Photo: Tom Campbell

Peter Hynes (Mayo County Council, chief executive), Cllr Al McDonnell the newly elected Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and Cllr Christy Hyland the newly elected Leas Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council. Photo: Tom Campbell

Fianna Fáil councillor Al McDonnell was elected as the new Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council for the next 12 months on Monday morning this week at the council's annual general meeting. This is the second time that Cllr McDonnell has been elected as Cathoirleach, having previously worn the chain of office in 1998. The Ballyglass based councillor first became a councillor in 1987 when he replaced former minister and European commissioner Padráig Flynn on the council, and he has been elected to the council in each of the subsequent local elections since.

The new Cathaoirleach was proposed for the position by party colleague Cllr Damien Ryan and was seconded by Cllr Annie May Reape, there was no counter nomination put forward by any of the other parties in the chamber. After taking the Cathoirleach's chair, Cllr McDonnell said: "My number one priority for the last number of years and for many years has been the greatest and most important piece of infrastructure to the county, Knock Airport. Due to the efforts of this council in the recent past, its short-term future is secure. There is an urgent requirement for capital investment of €35 million, that investment is necessary to the long-term survival of the airport."

Tributes were paid to the incoming Cathaoirleach from all sides of the house, with the role that Cllr McDonnell had played in ensuring that county development plans were the best deal for the people of Mayo, praised by the members from all sides.

Hyland takes Leas-Cathaoirleach position

The election of a new Leas Cathaoirleach also took place at Monday's AGM, with Westport based independent councillor Christy Hyland being elected to the position. Cllr Hyland takes over the role from fellow Westport based councillor Brendan Mulroy, who served four months in the role after he was co-opted into the role after Deputy Lisa Chambers was elected to the Dáil in February.

Sinn Féin select Conway Walsh replacement

Late last week, Sinn Féin held its selection convention to replace the newly elected Seantor Rose Conway Walsh on the Mayo County Council. Senator Conway Walsh will be replaced by Erris publican Teresa Whelan. Whelan will be co-opted on to the council at its July meeting which will take place on Monday July 11.

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