THE new Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr Jerome Scanlan, has described his election as first citizen of the county as “the best day of my life”.
Cllr Scanlan of Feohanagh, was elected unopposed at the council’s annual meeting this Friday afternoon succeeding his party colleague, Cllr Mary Harty.
“I am humbled and honoured to be elected. This is the best day of my life,” said Cllr Scanlan who was proposed by Fine Gael party leader in the council, Cllr John Sheahan, and seconded by Cllr Liam Galvin.
Cllr Scanlan, who received the highest individual vote share of any candidate in County Limerick at the 2009 local elections, said he was honoured to be elected cathaoirleach at a time when Limerick is preparing for “the greatest challenge in its history, that is ensuring both our authorities are well prepared for the amalgamation we expect to take place in 2014.”
His sentiments were echoed by Cllr Leo Walsh who was elected as leas-cathaoirleach of the council for the coming year.
“In 2014 the people of Limerick county and city will pick the team to go forward. We will all wear the one jersey and I hope it will be for the betterment of Limerick city and council,” said Cllr Walsh who was proposed by Cllr John Sheahan and seconded by Cllr Richie Butler.
Before handing over her ceremonial chain of office to Cllr Scanlan, Cllr Mary Harty thanked the councillors across all parties for their support and praised the outgoing leas-cathairleach, Damien Riedy, for his assistance throughout the year.
“I have had a fantastic year. You have all been tremendous and wonderful to me,” said Cllr Harty at the ceremony which was attended by a number of well-known political figures including Fine Gael TDs Patrick O’Donovan, Dan Neville and Kieran O’Donnell, former MEP and TD, Tom O’Donnell, Deputy Mayor of Limerick, Maria Byrne, and former Fine Gael councillor Jim Houlihan.
Congratulating the new cathaoirleach on his election, Cllr John Sheahan commended him on his “dedication to service”.
“Nobody else does it as good as him,” he said of the poll-topper.
Cllr Scanlan who represents the Newcastle West electoral area will be the fourth Fine Gael county councillor to hold the chairmanship of the local authority since 2009, succeeding Cllr Harty, Cllr David Naughton and Cllr Richard Butler. Cllr John Sheahan, is lined up to succeed Cllr Scanlan in 2013.
Cllr Scanlan who is the 114th cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council paid personal tribute to Cllr Harty, describing the outgoing cathaoirleach as “an extremely hard act to follow”.