Just days after the local elections and in a climate rife with political cynicism among the public, two members of Tramore Town Council may be about to renege on a decision taken only in April relating to election of the town’s Mayor.
The Council meets next Monday night to pick a Mayor and poll-topper Joe Conway (Ind) will be elected provided the new Council abides by a recommendation from the outgoing membership.
That recommendation, made unanimously two months ago, is that the people, in effect, would elect the Mayor, with the top five vote-getters serving a year each during the Council’s five-year term. The next four would each be Deputy Mayor for a year, as would the person receiving most first preference votes.
As five of the nine-member Council who made that decision were returned at the weekend, that recommendation will stand, provided all five stick by it.
But there are doubts on the basis of a check made by this newspaper with the five concerned. Joe Conway, Blaize Hannigan and Ann Marie Power said they would do so, but the other two, Lola O’Sullivan and Pat O’Callaghan, are undecided.
The Council’s four Fine Gael members and party activists were meeting on Tuesday night to consider the issue and no doubt Cllr O’Sullivan will have a contribution to make to that debate. But as of Tuesday morning she said she did not know which way she would jump – she hadn’t given it any thought, she maintained.
As for Labour’s Cllr O’Callaghan, he said he had an open mind. He could be “forced” to vote a certain way, depending on the options. Asked if he felt obliged to vote in accordance with the April recommendation, given that he was a party to it, he said no.
Cllr Hannigan went so far as to say that while he would recognise the Mayor irrespective of who was elected, he would walk out of Monday night’s meeting in protest if any of the returned five councillors reneged on the decision taken. “The people’s wishes are paramount and this is the fairest way of electing a Mayor”, he commented.
In fairness to former Independent councillor James McCartan, who failed to get re-elected, he was the one who proposed the new system of electing a Mayor – it was seconded by Cllr Power.
Pacts applied in the past and clearly Cllrs O’Callaghan and O’Sullivan are open to continuing with that method if it suits them.
But some would say that going back on a decision taken only two months ago would serve to feed the cynicism currently rampant among an electorate disillusioned by the behaviour of so many in politics over recent decades.