The agreement between Fianna Fáil and Independent councillors for control of Mayo County Council, that has stood for the past five years, looks set to be extended for the duration of the new county council term, which sits for the first time this morning (Friday, June 7 ) at 11am.
After two weeks of speculation and meetings between groups vying for control of the council, the magic number of 16 seats looks to have been agreed in principle, between the 11 Fianna Fáil councillors and the five-strong Independent block, consisting of councillors Michael Kilcoyne, Christy Hyland, Richard Finn, Seamus Weir and newcomer Mark Duffy. The sixth Independent elected to the council, Johno O'Malley, had signalled his intent to support Fine Gael in the council chamber.
The deal, in principle, which was struck between party negotiators during the week, still needed the approval of the Fianna Fáil block, which was due to meet last night (Thursday, June 10 ) to agree the deal. If agreed, it is expected to see the party hold the position of Cathaoirleach for three of the five years of the term and the Independents hold it for the two other years, with committee chairs and other roles arranged between them.
Whilst the majority of the attention at this morning's Annual General Meeting of Mayo County Council will be directed on the deal struck by the different groupings to control the prime positions in the council, such as the Cathaoirleach for each of the next five years - there is also an agenda with 74 items to get through.
These include a number of procedural items to get out of the way, such as scheduling the meetings of the council, and the selection of position of chairpersons of the six strategic policy committees of the council, along with the nomination of the six members of the council who will represent the county on the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education Training board and the four members who will be Mayo's representatives on the Regional Health Forum, West.
Other major seats that will be filled will see two councillors elected to the audit committee of the council, while almost half (14 members to be elected ) will sit on the Joint Policing Committee.
In total, 177 positions have to be filled by councillors on over 60 other different organisations spread around the county and wider region that have broad and varied concerns, including groups such as the Foxford Railway Restoration Society (four members ), the Louisburgh Rent a Cottage Scheme (three members ), Ploughastel Twinning Committee (two representatives ), the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders group (four members ) and Western Intercounty Railway Committee (five representatives ).
A full list of the committees and organisations with spaces to be filled by councillors can be viewed on the meeting's agenda which is available at http://apps.mayococo.ie/councillor_agenda_display.aspx.