herald

Thursday 26 April 2018

And Dublin's new Lord Mayor is ... Mister Slow

TOP JOB: Bike hero gets new 'chain' of office

THE man behind Dublin's highly popular bike scheme has been elected Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Labour councillor Andrew Montague (43), also branded 'Mr Slow' for championing the city's 30kph speed limit last year, was voted Mayor after he received 29 votes last night.

His Labour colleague Maria Parodi, who is originally from Florida, was elected Deputy Lord Mayor.

Cllr Clare Byrne (FG) said new Deputy Lord Mayor Maria Parodi will add "a touch of glamour and youth to the role".

She said it was "great to see a woman take a leading role".

Lord Mayor Montague's term lasts for one year. He is originally from Santry, but is currently based in Ballymun.

Montague was nominated by Labour Cllr Paddy Bourke and seconded by Fine Gael's Bill Tormey.

He defeated Independent candidate Ciaran Perry, who received 10 votes, and Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole, who received 5 votes.

Fianna Fail members abstained from voting, while Sinn Fein councillors accused Labour and Fine Gael of operating together to maintain the position of Lord Mayor until the next elections in 2014.

Opposing councillors called on the new Mayor to overhaul the voting protocol and called the current system "unjust".

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) argued that the voting culture is "undemocratic" and that "a new system needs to be introduced".

In response to his argument, Cllr Dermot Lacey (Lab) said the system is "democratic" because it is chosen by "democratic representatives of the council".

Former Lord Mayor Gerry Breen said he hopes Montague can continue and maintain important decisions that will need to be made on behalf of the council.

He said Montague faces "tough times ahead" and that he will have to act on behalf of Irish citizens.

In a short speech, he thanked all councillors for their support before officially handing over the chain of office.

Outlining his plans for the future, Mayor Montague said he will "make Dublin a more attractive city to both students and tourists".

He said that he will expand the number of markets throughout the city, with particular attention being focused on the Capel Street area.

He added that equality issues are "hugely important" to him and that he will stamp out "Third World living conditions that some families are faced with in Dublin".

Montague also outlined plans to introduce an additional one thousand bikes this year as part of the Dublin bike scheme.

"There is no doubt we face tough times ahead but we will overcome those issues," he said.

He explained that he will capitalise on the opportunities of the 2012 Olympics that will be hosted in London by "making Dublin an appealing place for potential visitors to stop off".

Labour Councillors later attended the Mansion House to celebrate their double victory.

Mayor Montague is the 342nd person to take the leading position of Mayor.

hnews@herald.ie

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