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All change at City Hall


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

All change at City Hall All change at City Hall

It was a radically different looking Galway City Council which sat for its first meeting of the new term, with Cllr Peter Keane taking the helm of a council with one third women and one third new to local politics.

Sitting among the 18 was Labour’s Helen Ogbu, the first person of colour and believed to be the first person born outside Ireland or the UK to sit on a local authority in Galway, an astonishing milestone given the multicultural mix of the city for the last two decades.

Cllr Keane — the first Fianna Fáil mayor in Galway since Cllr Mike Crowe took office 14 years ago — was elected unopposed after his party’s four representatives made a pact with the three Labour councillors, two Independents, Mike Cubbard and Declan McDonnell, and Sinn Féin’s only city councillor, Aisling Burke.

Fianna Fáil have been kept out of the power-sharing deals by successive pacts between Fine Gael, Independents and Labour.

Mayor Keane, who had tried to get elected on two previous occasions since his election in 2009, was the longest serving councillor not to have worn the chains of office.

He said alleviating traffic congestion by ensuring the Galway City Ring Road became a reality and implementing key active travel measures in the Galway City Transportation Study would be the focus of his term.

He implored his colleagues to move forward with “every possible solution”.

Other priorities would be ensuring young people could get on the property ladder and doing everything possible to make the planned upgrades of the two Galway city hospitals is delivered.

A working solicitor, Cllr Keane noted the absence of his mother who died a decade ago. GP Marie Keane’s “spirit of service” continued to inspire him in his political career, he declared.

Labour’s Nall McNelis was elected Deputy Mayor after Social Democrat Cllr Eibhlín Seoighthe lost by two votes.

Pictured: Newly elected Mayor of Galway Peter Keane with his fellow elected members of Galway City Council and Chief Executive, Leonard Cleary, at City Hall on Monday. Seated (from left): Eibhlín Seoighthe, CE Leonard Cleary, Peter Keane, Deputy Mayor Niall McNelis and Terry O’Flaherty. Standing (from left): Declan McDonnell, John McDonagh, Josie Forde, John Connolly, Frank Fahy, Eddie Hoare, Clodagh Higgins, Alan Curran, Alan Cheevers, Shane Forde, Helen Ogbu, Mike Cubbard, Aisling Burke and Donal Lyons.

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