Cllr Deirdre Forde elected Lord Mayor of Cork
The baton, or chain, has passed from Fianna Fáil to Fine Gael as Cllr Forde takes over at City Hall.
Cllr Deirdre Forde has been elected as the new Lord Mayor of Cork city. The Douglas-based councillor takes over from Cllr Colm Kelleher.
Meanwhile, Cllr Danny Collins was elected as the new mayor of Cork county. Collins is an independent politician and lives and works in Bantry.
Cllr Forde was elected Lord Mayor securing 21 votes ahead of Sinn Féin’s Fiona Kerins (five votes). Cllrs Ted Tynan and Fiona Ryan abstained from voting.
Cllr Tynan of the Workers’ Party explained that he abstained from voting for Cllr Forde as she represents the political establishment and that the country is suffering through multiple crises under the leadership of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
Independent Cllr Paudie Dineen said the process of electing the Lord Mayor in Cork needs to be revised, as it is deeply unfair.
City and county mayors in Ireland have no legislative power, and the role is largely ceremonial.
The outgoing mayor, Cllr Kelleher, described the role as “apolitical” and said the incumbent is “the face of the city.”
Cllr Kelleher, from Ballincollig, said he wanted to think of his tenure as mayor as a time when life returned to the city as pandemic restrictions were wound up. He said he was also proud of the city’s response to the war in Ukraine.
While not all councillors were present for the election of the new mayor, there were several heavy hitters in the gallery including Simon Coveney, the Fine Gael Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune, former lord mayor Jim Corr and Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer.
Councillors, many of whom were dressed in red robes, heaped praise on the outgoing Lord Mayor.
Mary Rose Desmond, the outgoing deputy Lord Mayor said the role offered her a chance to get to know the city and witness the work that is being done by so many.
Cllr Shane O’Callaghan of Fine Gael described the new lord mayor as a “political mentor” to him and his Fine Gael colleagues and said she is guided by civic duty to “the people of Douglas, Cork and Ireland”.
Cllr Forde recalled Jane Dowdall, the first-ever female Lord Mayor of Cork, and the women who had assumed the role since then.
The new Lord Mayor said she would focus on revitalising the city centre, and she also outlined her wish to install a tree-lined avenue in Tramore Valley Park to commemorate all those who had died in the pandemic.
The new Lord Mayor was joined by family and friends from Douglas and Rochestown in City Hall as she accepted the Lord Mayor’s chain.
“I want to be a listening Lord Mayor,” Cllr Forde said, adding that her door will always be open.