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Rush to fill vacant council seats

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020 4:25pm

Nominations have opened within parties to fill the seats left vacant on the city and county councils following the General Election.

Several members of Cork City and County Council have been elected to Dáil Éireann, leaving council seats open to new members from within the party's of the outgoing councillors.

Christopher O’Sullivan TD, the now former Mayor of County Cork has turned in his chain in exchange for a seat in Dáil Éireann. Following the vacancy, Deputy Mayor Cllr Martin Coughlan has stepped into the role until a new mayor can be elected. Cllr Coughlan said: “A mayor has to be elected within 14 days, I believe. So that would mean Cork County Council will have to elect a new mayor at the next full council meeting.”

The next full council meeting is scheduled to take place on 24 February. Following the appointment of a new mayor, Cllr Coughlan will revert to his role as Deputy Mayor.

Other councillors vacating seats on the county and city councils include Social Democrats' Holly Cairns TD (Cork South West), Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor (Cork East), and Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould (Cork North Central).

Party nominations have opened this week which will see potential nominees put their names forward to be co-opted into the vacant seats on the city and county council.

In Cork City North West, former Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent is expected to take the seat vacated by Deputy Gould, who topped the poll in Cork North Central last Sunday.

Nominations for Sinn Féin members in Cork North Central opened this week and will close at 12pm today, Thursday 13 February. A meeting will be held tomorrow in which a nominee will be selected via secret ballot. In the case that there is just one nominee, they will be ratified and appointed to the city council.

Speaking about the process, Deputy Gould said: “Someone will need to be co-opted on to the council to replace me. It’s an open and transparent system, it’s open to all members who want to apply. But former councillor Mick Nugent would certainly be seen as the front runner. He’s very active as a local public representative. I think people accept that Mick has represented this area in the past. There’ll be big support to have him back on the council.”

Mr Nugent said: “The party membership in the area will come together on Friday to nominate a replacement in Cork North Central. That will be submitted to Cork City Council, and that person will replace Tommy. If people are interested, it’s open to members to put themselves forward. I would be interested myself, I was on the council for eight years up to the local election. The party will have to look at it in terms of the North Central area. It’s a bigger ward now. The members in the area ultimately will decide who the person is.”

Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor was elected as the youngest member of the 33rd Dáil, leaving a county council seat in Cork East vacant.

Deputy O’Connor said: “It’s imperative that the council seats are filled immediately. We have a couple of names in the running.” One member of Fianna Fáil expected to put herself forward for the seat in Cork East is Rosarii Griffin. “I assume that she will stand,” continued Deputy O'Connor. “Until the nomination papers are in, we really have no idea who’ll be running for it. But it’s going to happen very quickly.”

Meanwhile the Social Democrats have also commenced a call for interest for nominees to replace Deputy Holly Cairns’ vacated seat in Cork County Council.

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