Deputy mayor leads by example

Fine Gael Cllr. Barry O’Neill, Donegal’s new deputy mayor, agreed with the Mayor, Cllr. Noel McBride, on the importance of tourism to the county.

Fine Gael Cllr. Barry O’Neill, Donegal’s new deputy mayor, agreed with the Mayor, Cllr. Noel McBride, on the importance of tourism to the county.

In fact, the deputy mayor said at Monday’s AGM, he and his wife-to-be, Lorraine, took a recent break in west Donegal. They visited Leo Brennan’s pub, the home of Enya and Clannad, down the road from Daniel O’Donnell’s home place of Kincasslagh and the Keadue pitch where Packie Bonner’s football career began, as well as Dungloe and Gaoth Dobhair.

“Why not holiday in your own county this year?” Deputy Mayor O’Neill said, adding, “Be it Inishowen, south Donegal or north Donegal or the Gaeltacht area, we have a beautiful county.”

Mayor McBride, 55, from Carrigart, and Deputy Mayor O’Neill, 37, from Ballyshannon, were elected to council in 2004 and re-elected in 2009.

Deputy Mayor O’Neill’s parents, Owen-Roe and Maura O’Neill, were also among the friends, family and supporters who filled the council chamber.

By matching margins of 18-10, Mayor McBride and Deputy Mayor O’Neill defeated Fianna Fáil Cllr. Liam Blaney and Cllr. David Alcorn, respectively, in the contests for mayor and deputy mayor.

After the election, Fianna Fáil Cllr. Dessie Larkin said to the new team, “We’re all here for the betterment of Donegal and we’re all here to support you.”

In remarks after his election, the deputy mayor paid tribute to Cllrs. Blaney and Alcorn for allowing their names to go forward. He pointed out that the council’s five-year term will see a mayor from each political grouping, with Labour councillors up for the positions next year and independents the final year.

“Every party in this council will have served,” he said. Fianna Fáil councillors served as mayor and deputy mayor from 2009-2010.

The new team received support from all groupings on the council. County Manager Seamus Neely said the mayor and deputy mayor “will complement each other in the best way possible” and on behalf of the senior council staff he said he looked forward to working with them “in the best interests of our county”.