Fitzgerald may run in election

Fitzgerald may run in election
Fianna Fáil city councillor Tony Fitzgerald, who is the incoming Lord Mayor of Cork.  Pic: Tony O'Connell Photography.

CORK's incoming Lord Mayor has refused to rule out a General Election bid - but he insists that his focus is on the year ahead.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald is set to assume the role of Lord Mayor on Friday, June 16.

Under the d'Hondt system adopted by city councillors after the last local election, the office of Lord Mayor is shared equally between the parties. Fianna Fáil, with the most seats, will hold two terms, with Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and the Independents all taking one.

Mr Fitzgerald's colleague Cllr Mary Shields already served one term as Lord Mayor, with the Knocknaheeny representative now set to take office for the coming year, all going to plan at next Friday's AGM.

He will be the party's first Lord Mayor since 2014 and the first Lord Mayor from the city's northside since Catherine Clancy in 2013.

A former deputy Lord Mayor and a crucial part of Cork's Healthy Cities project, Mr Fitzgerald is a popular choice in his native Knocknaheeny.

Having been first elected to Cork City Council in 2004, he has increased his vote in each of the subsequent local elections.

Despite this, though, he said he is not thinking beyond the coming term as Lord Mayor.

"I am totally focused on the year ahead," he said.

"There are so many hypothetical scenarios that could happen, but my focus is completely on the term as Lord Mayor."

With speculation mounting that a General Election could be called before the end of the year, Mr Fitzgerald could potentially see a boost in profile at exactly the right time.

However, he said it is not something he is concerned with - at least for the time being.

"All my energy and attention will be focused on the office for the year," he said "Whatever happens after that happens. I wouldn't rule anything out, but it's not my primary concern.

"For now, I am totally focused on the office."

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