29 June 2006 Edition

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Dwyer elected Chair of New Ross Council

John Dwyer

John Dwyer

Sinn Féin Wexford Councillor John Dwyer was elected Chair of New Ross Town Council by five votes to four on Wednesday, 21 June. Directly contradicting recent Labour allegations of a Sinn Féin/Fianna Fáil pact in relation to Mayoral elections he was proposed by Councillor Bobby Dunphy, Labour, and seconded by Councillor Ingrid O'Brien also of Labour. The two Fine Gael councillors also supported him and he defeated Fianna Fáil's Sean Connick by one vote. Accepting the position Dwyer said that by and large there was a very good working relationship on the council although the Fianna Fáil bloc had been consistently hostile to the chair irrespective of political persuasion.

Dywer's election follows on from Sinn Féin councillor Matt Carthy's election as the Chair of Carrickmacross Town Council.

Meanwhile, last Monday, the Fine Gael/Labour alliance suffered a set back when their candidate for Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Paddy Bourke, failed to be elected. The vote was initially tied at 26 votes for Bourke and 26 votes for Independent Councillor Vincent Jackson. In the end the position was decided by drawing a name from a hat with the result that Jackson became Mayor.

Controversially, former Fine Gael Councillor Niamh Cosgrave, now an Independent, voted for Jackson. She was expelled from Fine Gael for missing the Mayoral election last year.

Commenting on the vote Sinn Féin council group leader Christy Burke said the fact that that the position was decided by drawing a name from a hat showed the arbitrary and undemocratic nature of the present system. Calling for the position of Mayor to be decided by direct election he said the Mayor should work all four Dublin local authorities. The Mayors of London and New York were elected by direct election and were taken far more seriously in Dublin he said.

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