Kilmacrennan independent councillor Michael McBride has been chosen as the first mayor of the newly formed Letterkenny Municipal Authority at Friday’s inaugural meeting of the group.
The new authority is formed from the ashes of both the old Letterkenny Electoral Area and the Letterkenny Town Council and has increased the number of seats from seven to ten.
The meeting was opened by outgoing chairman, Cllr Liam Blaney who wished all his colleagues well for the forthcoming term and acknowledged the contribution made by outgoing members of the authority.
Cllr McBride was then nominated as the new chairman by Cllr Ian McGarvey. This was seconded by newly elected member councillor John O’Donnell.
His fellow newcomer, Cllr Dessie Shiels, proposed Cllr Liam Blaney for the position but this was not seconded.
New chairman McBride then thanked his colleagues of their support and said they all faced “new challenges” but “the key thing is to try and get more money into this council and this municipal authority”.
Cllr John O’Donnell was proposed as deputy chairman and this was seconded by Cllr McBride unopposed.
A debate then centred on the title of the new chairman.
Cllr Shiels put forward the motion that the position should remain formally as ‘Chairman’. He said he felt the authority “needs to get away from Killinaskully politics”, adding the example that the title did not have powers such as the “Mayor of New York” over matters such as policing.
Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh said he preferred “Mayor” as they were the only municipal area to be afforded the opportunity to use the title.
Cllr Liam Blaney said it would be a ”balancing act” as the inference with the title of mayor was one of holding power and posed the question ”are we saying they have more power than the chair of Donegal County Council?”
Cllr Gerry McMonagle said it was “not about the bling” but the “status of the municipal authority”.
Members agreed the adopted title of mayor could be used in either English or “Meara” as gaelige, by the title holder.