Cllr Mick Finn hands over the chain to the new Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan.

New councils, new mayors

June can only mean one thing in local politics and that’s the announcement of Cork’s two new mayors.

However, this month also marked the two new councils first meeting since the results of this year’s local elections in the new Cork city and county areas.

Two Fianna Fáil councillors have taken the reigns of the chains with northside Cllr John Sheehan becoming the Lord Mayor of Cork and Clonakilty native Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan has been elected Mayor of the County of Cork.

Cllr John Sheehan was elected as the first lord mayor of the newly expanded Cork city at an historic annual general meeting. The outgoing lord mayor Cllr Mick Finn handed over the lord mayor’s chain to the newly elected Lord Mayor during the meeting at City Hall.

In his acceptance speech, the Lord Mayor said one of the themes of his mayoralty was “connecting communities”. “It means building connections between the new areas of the city such as Blarney, Kerry Pike, Glanmire, Ballincollig and other areas of Cork city. It means building connections between the new groups who have made Ireland their home whether by choice or through fleeing persecution and poverty in their own homelands. It means building connections in long established communities of Cork such as Shandon, Blackpool and the South Parish,” he said.

Aged 52, Cllr Sheehan lives in Clogheen and is a GP with a practice in Blackpool. A UCC graduate, the new lord mayor has served on Cork City Council since 2014, representing the North West Local Electoral Area. He is married to Aedemar and is father to Conor, Cillian, Eoghan and Eimear.

Meanwhile, Mayor O’Sullivan has been a Fianna Fáil councillor with Cork County Council since he was co-opted in 2007 following his father Christy’s election to Dáil Éireann. With a Bachelor of Law Degree from University of Limerick, the 37 year old is the fourth member of his family to follow a career in politics.

He said: “Climate change and environmentalism are very high on my agenda and I consider this to be an opportune time to promote a number of initiatives, including changes to our fleet, with hybrid and electric vehicles, and installing water bottle refilling stations across our county. “This is going to be a very important year for this new council and during my term as mayor I am determined to identify and avail of new opportunities, market Cork and continue the proud record Cork County Council has of supporting and engaging with our wonderful county communities.”