27 June 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Anthony McDermott was installed as the new Mayor of Clonakilty on Thursday evening 9th June at a pleasant ceremony attended by a large crowd at Asna Square.
At 8pm, the Mayoral Council members led by the outgoing Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, arrived on foot from O’Donovan’s Hotel as is the custom.
Colette Twomey, as MC, welcomed the large crowd which included Michael Collins, TD; local County Councillors Paul Hayes and Christopher O’ Sullivan, and Mons. Aidan O’ Driscoll, PP and Rev. Kingsley Sutton, (Church of Ireland). There were apologies from Mayoral Council member John Loughnan, Jim Daly, TD and Cllr. Mary Hegarty, MCC who were unavoidably absent.
Before handing over the chain and robe of office, the outgoing Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin extended his thanks to all who made his year such a proud and enjoyable one. He had been invited to and attended over 170 engagements and he listed out several highlights among these.
Included were: welcoming President and Mrs. Higgins when they visited Clonakilty, and also the Burgermeister (Mayor) of Waldaschaff, (Clonakilty’s twin town in Bavaria); visiting several of the local schools; attending many community 1916 and other commemorative events and the institution ceremony of Rev. Kingsley.
He also reported how himself and the Deputy Mayor attended the march in Bandon in solidarity with the people of that town after it was flooded in early December and he thanked the local media who kept the people aware of the activities of the Clonakilty Mayor during the year.
He then handed over the robe and chain to new mayor Anthony McDermott who will be “in office” for the next 12 months.
Anthony told the crowd of his pride and honour in being installed as the people’s representative for the coming year. He pledged to do his best and be as active as his predecessor.
He also presented the acting Deputy Mayor Gretta O’ Donovan, (representing John Loughnan), with a Deputy Mayoral emblem to be worn at ocassions by the Deputy Mayor when the Mayor is already attending another event at the same time. The emblem was donated to the Mayoral Council by local historian Tomás Tuipéar.
Clonakilty is the only town in the country now with a town mayor since all 80 Town Councils, and with them the position of statutory Town Mayors, were abolished by the government in May 2014.
Local community organisation, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage, organised an open election in which the people elected five candidates to hold the title of community, non-political “Mayor of Clonakilty” for one year each.