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 Cllr Ken O'Flynn is in the running to be the next Lord Mayor
Cllr Ken O'Flynn is in the running to be the next Lord Mayor
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Contenders line up to be Cork's next Lord Mayor

CORK city’s next Lord Mayor is likely to be decided tonight in meetings between political groupings in the chamber.

The Lord Mayor will then officially be unveiled at the first annual meeting of the new council on Friday evening at City Hall.

Fianna Fáil, with the most councillors (8), is in line to take the post for the first year of the newly elected council but discussions and deals are still being done in order to decide whether the D’Hondt proportional allocation system, a Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael pact with a smaller group or an alliance of political groupings will be used to form a majority among the 31 councillors.

According to sources, names strongly tipped for the role of Lord Mayor in Fianna Fáil include 11-year councillor and North-East ward poll-topper Ken O’Flynn and Douglas-based former county councillor Mary Rose Desmond.

Cllr. Mary Rose Desmond
Cllr. Mary Rose Desmond

Fergal Dennehy and John Sheehan are also outside possibilities.

However, if Fianna Fáil can’t agree on its nomination, the first mayoral term may be offered to Fine Gael with Joe Kavanagh a likely candidate.

Cllr Joe Kavanagh (FG)
Cllr Joe Kavanagh (FG)

Ballincollig-based Derry Canty, a long-time county councillor, has ruled himself out of the reckoning on this occasion. Deirdre Forde is another option for the party.

Both Ms Desmond and Mr Kavanagh said they were unaware of speculation linking them to the role when contacted by the Echo.

Fianna Fáil party leader Seán Martin said all is still to play for but he wants a decision made by tonight so the incumbent Lord Mayor can prepare for the role.

“There is nothing concrete at the moment. The Fianna Fáil grouping has met with Fine Gael, independent Ger Keohane, Labour's John Maher, the Green Party and we are due to meet with Sinn Féin.

“There can only be five Lords Mayor over the term of this council and we have more groups than that.

“I would like to have things in place by Wednesday and announce a Fianna Fáil Lord Mayor on Friday night from the perspective of my party. Whether that happens or not is unclear.

“Regardless of party positions, we need to have a clear and defined concept of who is going to be made Lord Mayor so they can go away and prepare.

“Whatever arrangement, we come to, we have to decide by tonight. The person might need to take a sabbatical from work to take up the role and we need to be fair to them. If there are other positions such as chairmanships of Strategic Policy Committees, we can sort that out afterwards. If nothing else happens, we should definitely have a clear understanding of who will be going into the Lord Mayor's role tonight,” he added.