Fine Gael will meet to fill vacant council seats on Friday

The borough and county council seats vacated by retired Councillor Betty Manning will be filled this Friday, as Fine Gael Party members meet to co-opt a suitable candidate.

The borough and county council seats vacated by retired Councillor Betty Manning will be filled this Friday, as Fine Gael Party members meet to co-opt a suitable candidate.

Party members will cast their vote in a private ballot at the Clubhouse Hotel in the city on Friday evening. While the nominations have not been formally publicly announced, two prospective candidates are understood to have emerged: Jimmy Leahy, a former independent candidate in local elections; as well as current borough council member and incumbent Mayor of Kilkenny David Fitzgerald.

Des McGrath, a long-time party member and activist, had originally put himself forward but withdrew his name on Monday evening.

Jim Leahy, who is from the St John’s area, has previously contested two local elections as an independent. He joined the Fine Gael Party in 2009 having narrowly lost out on election that year. He is seeking to be co-opted onto both borough and county councils.

Mayor David Fitzgerald currently sits on Kilkenny Borough Council, and is seeking a county council seat. His mayoral term expires at the end of this month.

Betty Manning, a former Mayor of the City, unexpectedly resigned her positions on both Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny County Council with immediate effect last month.

At Monday night’s meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, all motions relating to positions formerly held by Ms Manning were deferred until the July meeting. These include a seat on the City Walls Steering Committee and a seat on the Board of Kilkenny Tourism.

The members also deferred a motion regarding the appointment of a chairman to the City of Kilkenny Municipal Policy Committee.