The new cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Rosaleen O’Grady spoke of how they needed to adapt to a situation that had “changed utterly” in Sligo in recent years, in her acceptance speech at Monday’s council AGM.
The Fianna Fail councillor was joined by one of the largest ever groups of family and and friends (including her baby grandson Harry) seen in the council chamber for the election of a cathaoirleach.
It is the first time that Cllr O’Grady, who was first elected to the county council in 2009, has held the post.
She was however Mayor of Sligo on three occasions. Remarkably she was first elected as Mayor at her very first meeting of the Borough Council in 1999.
Describing it as an “honour and privilege” to be elected to the chair, Cllr O’Grady said that the issues and economic landscape of the county had changed in recent years.
“To quote WB Yeats, all is changed, changed utterly”, she said.
And she said: “We must all change to adapt to the situation that we now find ourselves in.”
She said that their economic situation presented a difficult challenge but she believed that they had “the capacity, ambition and will to meet the challenge”.
Apart from that, Cllr O’Grady listed the development of a coach park in Sligo town, the securing of funding for a cardiac catherisation laboratory at Sligo Regional Hospital, more housing and the affect of the recruitment embargo on the provision of services as major issues to be tackled.
She spoke of the success of the Fleadh and the visit of Prince Charles as two occasions in the past year when Sligo had “shown what it can do” and she said it was important that they would do all in their power to portray a “positive and vibrant” view of Sligo.
Cllr O’Grady, who succeeded party colleague Cllr Joe Queenan in the chair, was proposed and seconded by Fianna Fail colleagues Cllrs Tom MacSharry and Seamus Kilgannon.
Independent councillor Margaret Gormley was proposed by Cllr Declan Bree, seconded by Cllr Sean MacManus seconded.
On a vote Cllr O’Grady was elected by 10 votes to 7.
She was supported by Cllrs Baker, Kilgannon, MacSharry, Mulvey, Queenan, Scanlon and Taylor of Fianna Fail and Cllrs Keaney, Maguire and Mulvey (Fine Gael).
Voting for Cllr Gormley were Sinn Fein councillors MacManus and Healy, Independents Casserly and Clarke, Bree (Ind Socialist) and O’Boyle (People Before Profit).
Cllr Paul Taylor was proposed as Leas Cathaoirleach by Cllr Eamon Scanlon, seconded by Cllr Martin Baker.
Cllr Sean MacManus was proposed for the post by Cllr Bree, second by Clr Healy.
Cllr Taylor was elected by 10 votes to 6, with a similar voting pattern, other than that Cllr Clarke abstained.