For the first time ever in a public forum, Cllr Sean McEniff has revealed who he would like to succeed him when he stops his work as a county councillor.
Speaking on Friday week last in the Allingham Arms Hotel at a function to mark his 80th birthday and his 55th consecutive year in politics - a record - Cllr McEniff gave his son-in-law, Peter McIntyre, a ringing public endorsement.
Cllr McEniff surprised some guests when he broke away from a series of thank yous to those who had attended, or offered him support over the years, to nail his colours to the mast on where his council seat might go after his day.
He said he would like it to be known that when his time as a county councillor was run, he would dearly love to see “Peter Mac” take on that role.
Peter McIntyre, (affectionately known as Peter Mac) is the joint owner of the Allingham Arms Hotel. Married to Sean’s daughter, Elizabeth, herself a former Bundoran Town Councillor, Peter was working all night at the function and seemed to be taken unawares as he stood listening quietly to the speech, with his hands to the wall of the function room near the entrance doors.
A loud cheer rose in response to Cllr McEniff’s comments; Peter McIntyre’s only discernible reaction was a brief but broad grin. Moments later he was on the move again, collecting glasses and looking after guests.
It was the second time at the celebration event his name had been mentioned. Cllr Ciaran Brogan, Mayor of Donegal, said he only fell out with Sean mcEniff over one thing - the fact that Peter McIntyre, a native of the ‘Burmah’ in Letterkenny, had left the Cathedral town 30 years ago to spend “a few months in Bundoran” and never came back. “Letterkenny’s loss was certainly Bundoran’s gain,” Cllr Brogan added.
If Peter is to take up the mantle as suggested by his father-in-law, he may well have plenty of time to think about it. Sean McEniff, speaking in the St John Bosco Centre in Donegal town last year following his election, said “it’s not this election I am worried about, the one in 2019 is more on mind” - a clear indication he has no intention of retiring and that he fully intends, if his health allows it, to contest again in 2019.
Peter McIntyre, meanwhile, is no stranger to the world of politics and current affairs. His late father, John MacIntyre, was a much loved and hugely respected editor of the Donegal People’s Press newspaper.
Peter McIntyre told this newspaper: “That was very nice of Sean, but there’s a lot of water to flow down the river yet. Ask me that question again, maybe in ten years from now, or longer. That man’s going nowhere.”