Outgoing Mayor Niall McNelis and former mayor Noel Larkin have confirmed they will not be honouring an agreement they signed with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to form a controlling mayoral pact on Galway City Council.
Both councillors had signed up to a five-year ‘mayoral pact’ with the two Civil War parties. But they have confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that they changed their minds and will be supporting an alternative pact – which will result in five Independents becoming mayors over the five-year term of the new City Council.
Cllrs Larkin and McNelis insisted the deal was changed subsequent to them signing it – making it null and void and they were then ‘free agents’ to negotiate with others.
Cllr Mike Crowe, Fianna Fáil’s negotiator, said he and his colleagues had lost trust in the pair.
Under the new deal, Mike Cubbard (Ind), the poll-topper in City Central, will become mayor later today (4pm Friday), at what could be a tense and fractious Annual General Meeting of the City Council at City Hall.
Both Cllrs Larkin and McNelis have confirmed to Galway City Tribune that they have since reconsidered a deal agreed last week.
“I signed an agreement, yes. I signed an agreement, which then changed, so to me that agreement is no longer lasting. I sought legal advice and I was told by senior counsel that I’m perfectly within my rights to walk away from it. Everyone is entitled to change their mind,” said Mayor McNelis.
Cllr Larkin said, subsequent to him signing the agreement, approaches were made to other councillors who were not party to it, including an offer of a Deputy Mayor to Social Democrat Owen Hanley. This was denied by the pact.
Cllr Mike Crowe said he was “shocked” at what happened.
“You’ve two individuals who have totally committed to an agreement, signed up to it and are now reneging and ultimately aren’t going to go ahead with it. It wasn’t just shaking hands or a gentleman’s agreement; it was a completed and signed agreement,” he said.
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