The most experienced public representative in the county at local level has been entrusted with the onerous task of leading the first Tipperary County Council having fought off opposition to take the honour this week.
Councillor Michael Fitzgerald (FG), fittingly was elected in St Michael’s Community Centre in Holycross, having secured the support of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, Independent Eddie O’Meara and Lowry Team members Micheal Lowry and Willie Kennedy. The Lowry Team though is outside the controlling pact with Councillor Michael O’Meara having voted for Cllr Joe Hannigan who was also nominated for the position.
Cllr Hannigan, attending his first ever council meeting, had been proposed by Cllr Seamus Morris, but when the votes were counted, he had lost out by 24 votes to 16.
It was always going to be a tall order for the inexperienced councillor to oust a man of 35 years standing and Cllr Fitzgerald who has successfully contested seven local elections, topping the poll on four occasions. Michael Fitzgerald had also been Chairman of South Tipperary County Council on three occasions and was Chairman of the South Eastern Regional Authority also.
There were many congratulations to the Golden man following his election - he was accompanied by his family including his 84 year old mother who has been involved in election campaigns since 1945 when his father was elected to the council.
Fianna Fail’s Cllr John Carroll was unanimously elected Vice Chairman of the Council while the five Strategic Policy Committee chairs went to Cllrs Marie Murphy, John Hogan, Jackie Cahill, Denis Leahy and Seamie Morris.
Cllrs Willie Kennedy, Matty Ryan, Mary Hanna Hourigan, Michael Anglim and Ciaran Burke were appointed to the Association of Irish Local Government with the first three acting as permanent members for the full five year term.