An agreement between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and a former Fianna Fail, now Independent, councillor has led to the election of Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin as the new Mayor of Kildare.
The agreement – which will determine many of the major decisions on the new 40-strong Kildare County Council – was criticised by Sinn Fein’s five newly-elected councillors following the voting.
At last Friday’s Kildare County Council AGM – which was the first meeting of the new councillors following the May 23 election – Fianna Fail (12 members) and Fine Gael (nine members) combined with independent, former FF councillor, Bernard Caldwell, in a voting agreement.
Sinn Fein Cllr. Reada Cronin (Maynooth/Clane) proposed that the Council agree to a gender balance giving more priority to women when it came to election to sub-committees.
However, this was rejected, and majority voting held sway – with the Sinn Fein and Independent councillors losing out to Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members in many cases in the subsequent votes.
Cllr. Cronin was also particularly critical of what she called “a snide” comment by a male member of the Council, who did not own up when asked to apologise by her, Cllr. Joanne Pender and the new Mayor O’Loughlin.
Meanwhile, Mayor O’Loughlin, whose grandfather and father were both elected as Kildare county councillors, said “a cultural change” is needed at the Council.
She said that members would challenge Council executive decisions and the Council had to support the local economy, sustain existing businesses and help create new ones.
Congratulating her Mayoral bid, Fine Gael Cllr. Brendan Weld said: “We are under no illusion as to what lies ahead of us in this chamber.
“We are going to be demanding in seeking things from the executive.”
Fianna Fail’s Frank O’Rourke was elected as Deputy Mayor.