Former Lord Mayor of Cork Joe O’Callaghan has quit Fine Gael and is to run as an Independent for a seat on Cork City Council.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr O’Callaghan hit out at his own party and Government saying they are “weak” on accountability and law and order.
A former Labour and then Fine Gael councillor, Mr O’Callaghan served as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1995.
Based in Blarney, he had sought the Fine Gael nomination to run in the North West Ward which is expanding to take in Blarney. However, he lost out in the selection contest with Fine Gael running Julie O’Leary and Damian Boylan.
Mr O’Callaghan said he informed Fine Gael yesterday of his resignation from the party and announced his intention to run as an Independent candidate.
“The main reason for my decision is to ensure that the new Blarney area to be included in Cork City is properly integrated and has an experienced person to represent local people immediately, and my opinion that the Government is weak on accountability and law and order,” he said.
“There are many local and national issues not being voiced or addressed in this present politically correct environment and being free of party restraints will allow me to do so.
“This new area needs investment from local and national government as the concentration of development is still veering from us.”
Mr O’Callaghan said the final decision for him came in recent weeks with the Government decision to offer support to repatriate Lisa Smith, the former defence forces member who left Ireland to join Isis.
“The other red line was the outrageous overspend of half a billion euro on the national children’s hospital,” Mr O’Callaghan said. “No one sacked, no one resigned, no one demoted.”
The local elections take place on Friday, May 25.
The makeup of the council is set for a significant shakeup with a number of high profile councillors stepping away from politics and the city expanding to take in suburban areas of Blarney, Ballincollig, Glanmire and Douglas.