DESPITE the resignation of Mayor Gerry McLoughlin, it looks likely a Fine Gael candidate will still become the next mayor of Limerick.
Labour and Fine Gael agreed a pact last year, after concerns were raised at councillor Pat Kennedy’s suitability for the role due to an investigation over his expenses.
With former Labour councillor Gerry McLoughlin securing the chains this year, the role will return to Fine Gael for the final year of the council, according to the deal.
Even if Mayor McLoughlin - who resigned blaming a lack of support - were to renege on the agreement, it is unlikely to make any difference.
Fine Gael’s council leader Diarmuid Scully said he expects the mayor to remain faithful to the pact.
For his part, Mayor McLoughlin said he would vote for who he thinks will make “the best mayor”.
Cllr Scully said: “Gerry McLoughlin was not just a party to the agreement between Fine Gael and Labour, he was its main beneficiary. His resignation does not alter that fact. I expect he will honour the agreement he entered into and vote for the Fine Gael nominee for mayor.”
While many in Labour are shocked at the mayor’s resignation, Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan says the news comes as “absolutely no surprise”.
“I know there have been a lot of problems in the Labour party, and there has been open dissention among all the councillors, so it is not surprising,” he said, adding he believes Mayor McLoughlin has one eye on the next election.
He played down the chances of a non-Fine Gael mayor, but said he would like to see long-time runner-up Kathleen Leddin take the chains.
“I think the last few mayors have been quite disappointing, and I think Kathleen Leddin would be a nice end to the council. If we had someone like Kathleen, who has a bit of prestige, finishing out the council, it would be very fitting,” said Cllr Quinlivan.
This was backed by Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, who nominated her last year: “I would think it would be nice to have a lady mayor of the city. She is well deserving of the role.”