Friday 21 October 2016

Councillors scramble in effort to stop election of SF Lord Mayor

Criona Ni Dhalaigh
Criona Ni Dhalaigh

A HEAVE against the politician likely to become Dublin's next Lord Mayor may have started before she has even been put forward for election.

The Herald understands that Sinn Fein councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh has been selected as the party's candidate for the Mansion House.

She is likely to get the position because a pact between her party, Labour and the Greens agreed that Sinn Fein would fill the position into 2016.

However, several Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and some Independent councillors have indicated they could not support the move.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors said their main reason against the election of a Sinn Fein Lord Mayor is because the party would "hijack" the 1916 commemorations.

Both parties believe Sinn Fein will use the Mansion House to celebrate figures outside of the 1916 Rising.

Fianna Fail councillor Jim O'Callaghan said he would run for Lord Mayor if a preferred Independent representative did not enter the race.

"I believe that they would hijack the 1916 celebrations for their own narrow purposes," he said.


However, these claims were blasted by Ms Ni Dhalaigh, who said there were "no plans to hijack the occasion".

"The Rising year, 1916, belongs to everybody and not any political party and there are no plans to use the Mansion House in any way," she said.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael want to see an Independent go for the position, as neither party has the numbers to win with their own candidate.

Independent Mannix Flynn has already thrown his hat into the ring, but as of yet neither party has endorsed him.

It is understood that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, who together have 17 councillors, favoured Independent Ciaran Perry for the position.

However, Mr Perry, who is being put forward as the candidate for Deputy Mayor, said he would support the Sinn Fein candidate.

Labour are also supporting the Sinn Fein candidate, with its group leader Dermot Lacey saying the opposition was "being nonsensical" and "pretending Independents aren't political".

Ms Ni Dhalaigh said "no decision" had yet been made on her candidacy, but she confirmed she had put her name forward.

She said it would be "an honour" to serve in the role if she is elected on June 29.

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