Donegal Dáil Deputy, Pat the Cope Gallagher, has said he would be ready and willing to assume the role of Ceann Comhairle - should the position be offered to him.
The Fianna Fail TD, who secured the fourth of the five seats up for grabs at the weekend, following a long and absorbing count in Letterkenny, has been tipped to succeed Fine Gael’s Sean Barrett for the position in both local and national political circles.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat yesterday, the former MEP said: “When questions like this are put to me, I have the same answer - I am always prepared to serve, simple as that. Having said that, I won't be building up my hopes.”
The Dungloe-based public representative added: “While it would be a great honour and privilege to serve as Ceann Comhairle, my primary focus is to serve the people who elected me.”
Commented a well placed Fianna Fail source: “Pat the Cope has been around a long time. He's experienced, fair and is also highly respected among all political parties. He would be an ideal candidate for the position.”
The 67-year-old was first elected to the Dáil in 1981 and served the constituency of Donegal South West until 1997. He also served as a minister of state and an MEP. He narrowly lost his seat in 2014, but had remained extremely active on the ground politically.