28 May 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
A year on since Colette Twomey (of Clonakilty Blackpudding fame) became Ireland’s first ever directly-elected Mayor, she will conclude her term on Thursday 4th June and her successor will be installed.
When the Government announced they were going to abolish all Town Councils in May 2014, the people of Clonakilty, led by the local Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage group, initiated a campaign to retain the position of “Mayor of Clonakilty” after the council went.
A special election – organised and run on a totally voluntary basis, was held on 24th May 2014, which saw almost 1,600 people voting for their choice of Town Mayors for the following five years.
It was the first time ever anywhere in Ireland that the ordinary people could vote for their choice of Mayor, as within the local authority system, it is the elected representatives who select the Mayor at an annual meeting.
Five out of eight candidates were elected in Clonakilty – each to hold the position of “Mayor of Clonakilty” for one year each, based on the rotation in which they were elected.
Even though the “Mayor of Clonakilty” is a totally voluntary, unpaid, non-statutory, honorary position with no power, the Mayor enjoys huge respect in the town, as shown by the dozens of invitations issued to Mayor Colette Twomey over the last year to attend local community events.
On Thursday 4th June at 8.00pm, she will stand down after a busy and successful year and “hand over the chain” to Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin who received the second-highest vote in last years historic election.
An open invitation is issued to the people of Clonakilty to attend the event which will be held at 8.00pm at O’Donovan’s Hotel.