MEMBERS of the Fianna Fáil party in Cork were looking forward to new beginnings as they paid tribute to their new Taoiseach.
Former Lord Mayor of Cork, Terry Shannon said the events of the last few days were “unreal”.
“This has been unreal in many respects,” he said.
“However, I know this won’t change Micheál or his family.
“They will still have the same open-door policy where the kids’ friends can come and go as they please.
“The residents who have been there since the start are a united group. There is going to be a certain amount of upheaval with Micheál’s presence but they are delighted to have a Taoiseach in the park. I’ve no doubt that we will still be bumping into Mary shopping and Micheál out walking the dog Setanta, because those are the things that keep them grounded.
“The kids will carry on with work and college and do their best to keep things as normal as possible.”
Mr Shannon spoke of the qualities he feels Micheál Martin will bring to his new role.
“Micheál’s life experience has given him a lot of empathy,” he said.
“He understands people’s suffering and wants to do what he can to help people. He realises that his time as Taoiseach will be short so he wants to make every day count.”
Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O’Sullivan reiterated the significance of the occasion.
“To get to this level politically after 31 years is a huge deal,” he said.
“There’s going to be high expectations now that we finally have a Cork Taoiseach and a number of issues that need to be delivered.
“This is a proud moment for Micheál Martin but also a proud moment for Cork who are seeing a Cork Taoiseach elected only for the second time in its history.”
An Taoiseach’s parliamentary assistant and Cork City South East councillor Mary Rose Desmond said this was a day “they had hoped for but never took for granted”.
“We always hoped that Micheál would one day be Taoiseach,” she said.
“He has a strong track record of work both locally and nationally.
“He is focused on how the system can be improved to deliver for the people.
“As a parliamentary assistant, I’ve been getting to see firsthand just how hard he works. That work ethic and drive to help the people he represents has been instilled in us too.
“He is the perfect man for the job and the difficult times that we are now facing.”