NEW Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh has said she is proud to become the capital’s first citizen.
Crumlin-Kimmage representative Ms Ni Dhalaigh took 41 of the 59 votes in a landside victory in City Hall last night.
She succeeds Independent councillor Christy Burke whose tenure in the Mansion House saw him campaign on behalf of homeless people and do his best to resolve the Garth Brooks concerts fiasco.
Her term in office will see her preside over the 1916 centenary commemorations.
Ms Ni Dhalaigh last night expressed her delight at her election.
“It feels brilliant, it feels like a privilege and I’m proud to be the first citizen of Dublin,” she said.
She rejected suggestions that Sinn Fein would seek to dominate the 1916 centenary year.
“It is a hugely important year and I just want to reiterate – and we’ve said this until we’re blue in the face – that the celebration and commemoration of 1916 does not belong to any one single party,” she said.
“It belongs to the people of Dublin. My party has been celebrating 1916 for years, so it’s nothing new to us. We will commemorate it, and the
important thing is that the people who do commemorate the brave heroes of 1916 do so in a fitting manner.”
Meanwhile, Dubliners paid warm tributes to Mr Burke.
“I’ve had letters and texts and emails from people all over Ireland thanking me for the past year,” he told the Herald.
“I even had a text this morning from a former constituent in New York which said, ‘simply the best’.”
Mr Burke also saw a huge Dublin GAA flag hanging on a house in Ballybough, hailing him as the “best Lord Mayor ever”.
“I saw it and I was taken aback,” he told the Herald.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Mansion House staff – without their support I wouldn’t have been able to do the job. They did everything to a tee.”
Mr Burke said he would mark the end of his time as Lord Mayor with a quiet walk.
“I will celebrate. I’ll go for a very quiet walk along the promenade at Clontarf,” he said.
“And if before dark I can get along the Bull Wall over the wooden bridge, that’s my time for me and my partner – she
absolutely deserves that as well.”