The former Cork County Mayor, Seamus McGrath, has called on Cork County Council to explore the possibility of giving his successor a driver.
Cllr McGrath handed over the role of County Mayor to Declan Hurley last Friday and said he believes there is a health and safety issue with the Mayor currently having to drive to events around the county himself.
Cork city's Lord Mayor has a driver, despite having to cover a much smaller distance.
“It is an ongoing challenge for us to achieve the same status as the Lord Mayor and capture the same recognition among the public. It is a role I believe we can use for the benefit of the organisation to a greater extent," said Mr McGrath.
“In terms of practical support [for the Mayor], I believe there is more that we can do. We should now look at the option of the County Mayor having a driver. It isn't going to benefit me, but I think it is important.
"As someone who has spent 12 months in the role, I think it's important that I outline how we can improve the position of Mayor. I have already begun the conversation with Chier Executive Tim Lucey and he is very open minded and very willing to listen."
He stressed that the change would not be about status, but about practicality.
“We cover a huge county. There is a serious health and safety issue with the Mayor not having a driver," he said.
"At times you are hurrying around trying to attend events and different engagements. Very often you might have to ring ahead to check out some fact. It's not easy to do that safely when driving."
West Cork Fianna Fáíl Cllr Joe Carroll said he was well aware of the distances travelled by the County Mayor, himself being a representative of an outlying constituency.
“I could never understand for the life of me why the Lord Mayor of Cork has a driver. You could actually cycle across the city in 10 minutes if you wanted to," he said.
“If the Lord Mayor of Cork wanted to go to [a place like] Ahakista [in West Cork] they'd probably want a helicopter. It's a serious thing. It's ridiculous to think, with the size of Cork county that the Mayor doesn't have a driver. The CEO will have to take this seriously."
Cllr McGrath has also called for the Mayor's office to be more centrally located within Cork County Hall on Carrigrohane Road on floor 14 or 15.
“If we are serious about enhancing the role of Mayor, these are practical measures we need to look at. I have started the discussion, it will be up to future Mayors to continue it.”