Independent Cllr. Ian McGarvey is understood to be the leading candidate to succeed Donegal Mayor, Labour Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jr., at the council’s annual general meeting in June.
It is the turn of the independent grouping to hold the mayor’s and deputy mayor’s positions for the 2013-2014 year, in an agreement involving all but Fianna Fáil that has given each political grouping a year as mayor during the five-year life of the current council.
“I would be honoured to serve as mayor,” Cllr. McGarvey (pictured) said. “I would like to serve the members and staff and the people of the county as well.”
Cllr. McGarvey, who turns 83 in July, said he believed he would be the most senior mayor on either side of the border and said he would look forward to being elected. Cllr. McGarvey, from Gleneary in Ramelton, has served on the county council since 2004.
Even before being elected to the council, Cllr. McGarvey had a long history of involvement with the Donegal Care of the Aged Committee and other community campaigns. He also contested the General Elections of February 1982, of 2007 and of 2011 in Donegal North East and ran for a seat on the county council in 1999.
Earlier this month, Cllr. McGarvey’s home was attacked with large stones and graffiti. The councillor, who has lived in the area for 56 years, said that was the first time that anything like that had happened to him.
“I have respect for everyone I meet,” Cllr. McGarvey said at the time. “I never thought something like this would happen to our home.”
The agreement that is expected to see the independents heading the council followed the controversial budget meeting in December of 2009, when a quorum of nine Fianna Fáil councillors and then-Fianna Fáil Mayor, Cllr. Brendan Byrne, adopted the 2010 council budget while the remaining 19 councillors were in a meeting down the hall.
Since then, Fianna Fáil councillors have been critical of what they said has been their exclusion by the other groupings. At the three AGMs since, Fianna Fáil each year have nominated two of their own party to serve as mayor and deputy mayor, but they have not been elected.