BISHOPSTOWN poll-topper and former Lord Mayor, John Buttimer, will not stand for re-election to Cork City Council next year.
Announcing his decision to exit politics, Mr Buttimer said that he has to focus on his career, which is difficult for anyone who is also serving in local government.
He said that local government reform is needed to facilitate councillors who have to take career breaks or lose hours in order to serve.
“Local government is best-served by having a mix of people. We need to make sure that the structures support that.
“At the moment, it’s people that are in the retired category who have the time or people who are ideologically driven and are able to work full-time in politics,” he said.
He said that the expansion of the city boundary, which will bring Ballincollig into his Cork City South West ward, is also a challenge, as it would double the workload for councillors.
Mr Buttimer was co-opted to the City Council in 2007, when his brother, Jerry Buttimer, was elected to the Seanad.
He was re-elected in both 2009 and 2014, topping the poll, with more than a quota and a half, on both occasions.
He served as Lord Mayor in 2012/13.
Mr Buttimer said that it was “humbling” to have his community’s support at the ballot box.
“I’m very passionate about Bishopstown, Glasheen, and Togher. They are great places to live, and there should be more investment to support suburban areas,” he said.
He said that becoming Lord Mayor was the highlight of his career.
During his term, he was diagnosed with cancer and was treated while still carrying out his duties as Cork’s first citizen. He thanked people for their support during that time.
“To have the overwhelming support of the community was incredible,” he said.
Mr Buttimer said that the expansion of the City Council, and a recovering economy, present new opportunities to the city.
“It’s time for new people to take on the mantle,” he said.
He is the third councillor to announce their retirement from politics, following Fianna Fáil’s Tom O’Driscoll and Solidarity’s Marion O’Sullivan.