Councillor Marie Therese Gallagher has been appointed as Donegal’s Deputy Mayor in a move that is thought to have made Donegal the first county council to have its top two positions filled by women.
The Dungloe woman was co-opted into the position which was vacated by her Sinn Fein colleague Padraig MacLochlainn on his election to the Dail last month.
Speaking in the chamber after receiving her chain she it was a historic day for Sinn Fein as it was the first time in the history of the state a county council had a female mayor and deputy mayor. “This is another step forward for Sinn Fein,” she said. Her appointment is also a step forward for woman in politics she said. “The mayor has taken some very good steps in promoting woman in politics and I will be supporting her in that.”
She thanked the council and Sinn Fein for the honour and said she hoped to serve the county to the best of her ability.
Cllr. Gallagher was proposed by her party colleague Mick Quinn who said he had no doubt of her ability and her commitment to the county and communities across the county.
Labour Party councillor Frank McBreaty said he knew that Cllr. Gallagher would be a very good deputy mayor and wished her the best in the post.
Finna Fail councillor David Alcorn said Cllr. Gallagher will bring efficiency to the position and said her appointment was a proud day for her, her family and her community.
Independent councillor Ian McGarvey said he was delighted to see her elected into the post adding he knows she will do well.
Speaking after her election Cllr Gallagher said she was very proud to receive the honour of holding the second-highest office in the county.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn, whose election to Leinster House has created this vacancy. It was a very proud day for us when Padraig was elected, and I am equally as proud today to take up the position of Deputy Mayor here today.
“I’d like to thank the council for their unanimous support and also thank the Sinn Féin party for nominating me to this position. It’s a great honour to be elected as second citizen of your county, it has been a great honour for me to serve the people of the Glenties electoral area, and the people of Donegal over the past number of years, I will continue to represent the people to the best of my ability.”
“It is a first for this Council and I am led to believe a first in the history of county councils in the state, to have the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the county both females. When the Mayor entered this chamber in 2008, history was made, the first time five members of the Council were female, this was a major step forward in this County in promoting woman in politics, unfortunately after the election in 2009 our numbers declined to three, I am hoping that by my election as deputy Mayor today that it will be seen as another step forward in this county, in promoting woman and encouraging women to enter public life.”