Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Sinn Féin councilor and “Dub, born and bred,” has been elected as the new Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Fianna Fáil councilor Jim O’Callaghan and independent councilor Mannix Flynn put their names forward to try to prevent this from happening. Ní Dhálaigh got 41 out of 59 votes on Monday evening and nine went to O’Callaghan and eight went to Flynn.
Addressing Dublin City Council Ní Dhálaigh said, “I am a proud Dub, born and bred in Dublin. I owe everything to my parents.”
She stopped her speech to say “Thanks Ma” to her mother in the gallery and, holding back tears, said it was her deceased father who inspired her most. “He would be very proud to see his daughter be the first person of his beloved city.”
Ní Dhálaigh said she wanted Dublin to be a “city of equality” and said she will fight for workers' rights, highlighting the “offensive” mistreatment of Dunnes Stores workers and the sudden closure of Clery’s department store.
She said, “I am especially proud to be the first Sinn Féin mayor for Dublin and I am very grateful for the support that made this possible. I know that for some it was a bit of a leap of faith and I acknowledge that.
“I am conscious that this position is a responsibility, not a privilege, and that it is my role to serve the people of this city, and my fellow councilors in an open, honest and transparent manner," she added.
The new first citizen called on councilors from all different parties and ideologies to work together, saying “it’s that city of equals that I want to help build. No one can do that by themselves. No party can do that alone."
O’Callaghan, who objected to the election of a Sinn Féin councilor to the position, said he put his name forward because he has a fear “that Sinn Féin will hijack this important year of commemoration to justify the 30 year pointless and counterproductive campaign by the provisional IRA.”
Congratulations Criona Ni Dhalaigh first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Dublin pic.twitter.com/TaAaxWzgqj— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) June 29, 2015
The deputy leader of Sinn Féin, Dublin City Council councilor Mícheál Mac Donncha, said his claims were “laughable.”
Ní Dhálaigh told the Herald, “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.”
On Monday O’Callaghan congratulated Ní Dhálaigh, whom he described as “a hard-working and diligent councilor.”
However, he continued, “Don’t let the powers that be in Sinn Féin hijack [the 1916 commemoration].
Mannix Flynn also spoke, saying, “The people of Dublin have an exceptional Lord Mayor tonight.”
He called on the new mayor to “use her powers” to support victims of child sex abuse, naming Maria Cahill and Paulie McGahon.
Flynn said, “I call on you because you are an exceptional human being…I call you not to go down the party line and to be an independent individual.”
The outgoing Lord Mayor, Christy Burke, was widely acknowledged for his work over the past year.
“I even had a text this morning from a former constituent in New York which said, ‘simply the best.’”
Burke told the Herald he saw the huge Dublin GAA flag hanging on a house in Ballybough, hailing him as the “best Lord Mayor ever.”
He said, “I saw it and I was taken aback.
“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.”
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.”