A proposal which would give the people of Tramore a say in electing their Mayor was passed unanimously at the Town Council’s April meeting, much to the surprise of the member who tabled it.
Cllr James McCartan was not optimistic beforehand. While anticipating some support he believed a majority would be opposed on the basis that they would be out of order in making a decision on behalf of the new Council, to be elected on June 5.
Afterwards, he described himself as “speechless”, that it had gone through without opposition.
His favoured system – now shared by all of his Council colleagues – is that the top five vote-catchers, in order, would get the Mayoralty for the five year Council term, with the other four (there are only nine altogether) and the poll-topper automatically becoming Deputy Mayor for one year each.
Cllr McCartan argued: “That would seem a fair way of selecting the town’s first citizen, instead of the current system involving a pact under which five members retain the post between them”. The five are Fine Gael’s Lola O’Sullivan, Ann Marie Power and current incumbent Raymond Hayden, Labour’s Pat O’Callaghan and Independent Joe Conway.
“In effect, the Mayor would be elected democratically by the people, instead of the cosy existing arrangement which could deprive of the honour the person with most public support”, stated the County Down native, co-opted to the Council four years ago in place of Betty Twomey, who resigned at the time.
He further submitted: “It’s only before an election that such a decision should be made, so that the electorate know the full significance of their vote casting”.
Despite the decision, however, it will be up to the new body to make up their own mind on the issue. But, assuming more than half the sitting members are returned, the public will in essence be selecting on election day their Mayors for the next five years. Only a u-turn on the subject could alter that.
Cllr McCartan, already on the canvass trail, said he found on the doorstep a huge desire for change. As part of that change, this new method of selecting the Mayor would be one way of further empowering the community and enhancing the democratic process, he submitted.
Most of the other members agreed with his sentiments, Cllr Ann Marie Power (FG) suggesting that more people might now turn out to vote.