Fianna Fáil Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, party whip, stood over his criticism of new Donegal Mayor, Labour Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jr., at Monday’s annual general meeting, and said he did not think his party will be able to work with the new mayor.
“I don’t believe we will,” Cllr. Brogan said yesterday. “I think at the end of the day the position of mayor is one that has to have the respect of all the members, and I don’t think that will be the case.
“And I think Fianna Fáil is probably the most honest party in this regard,” Cllr. Brogan said.
Speaking yesterday, Mayor McBrearty said he works with Fianna Fáil on a daily basis. “I can work with every member of Fianna Fáil and I look forward to working with them over the next year,” he said.
The new mayor said he was “saddened that Cllr. Ciaran Brogan has taken this attitude, but I’m not sure it reflects all the opinions from all of Fianna Fáil.” Mayor McBrearty said that most of the Fianna Fáil councillors shook his hand in the council chamber on Monday after he was elected mayor for the coming year.
“If Councillor Brogan wants to take this type of attitude, that’s down to him,” Cllr. McBrearty said, saying that the Fianna Fáil councillor was entitled to his opinion.
“The facts are that the power-sharing pact have faith in me that I will conduct myself in the appropriate manner as mayor,” he said. Mayor McBrearty was supported by a pact including Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the independents on the council.
For the third year in a row, Fianna Fáil nominated their own party colleagues, this time Cllrs. Rena Donaghey and Patrick McGowan, as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively. Mayor McBrearty and new Deputy Mayor, Labour Cllr. Martin Farren, were each elected by a vote of 17-11. Fianna Fáil councillors were the only members to vote for the Fianna Fáil ticket.
Sinn Féin Cllr. Mick Quinn, party whip, said he did not believe the matter was about Fianna Fáil being able to work with Mayor McBrearty.
“In the same way, it was not about their ability to work with Noel McBride or Cora Harvey as mayor,” he said, referring to the last two mayors that Fianna Fáil did not vote for at previous council AGMs.
“The fundamental issue here is that Fianna Fáil have woken up and realised that they no longer control Donegal County Council, and this is a very painful lesson for them to learn,” Cllr. Quinn said.
See page 9 for more on the council AGM.