Kilkenny City has a new mayor, following the election of Labour Party councillor Sean O’ hArgain at the borough council general meeting last Thursday in City Hall.
Mayor O’ hArgain was elected unopposed, following the decision of the Fianna Fail group not to put forward a candidate from their own Party. He was proposed by his Labour Party colleague Marie Fitzpatrick, and seconded by Fine Gael councillor Martin Brett.
Also attending the ceremony were members of the new mayor’s family, including his wife Marian, children Fionn and Caoilfhionn, his parents Tom and Mary Horgan, and sister Kerry.
Mayor O’ hArgain, who is originally from County Kerry, moved to Kilkenny in 2002 and is the Principal at Gaescoil Osrai in Loughboy. He was elected to Kilkenny Borough Council in 2004.
“Thank you for the honour of electing me as first citizen of one of Ireland’s most historic cities – a place in which I was not born but in which I choose to live,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“In particular, I say thank you to my fellow citizens who chose to elect me to this council in 2004 after just two years living here, and again chose to re elect me in 2009.”
Mayor O’ hArgain has been involved in politics since 1986, when he was elected deputy president of the Students Union of Ireland. He became a member of the Labour Party in 1988, while his family has a background in politics dating back to his great grandfather, who was a borough and county councillor.
“Councillor O’ hArgain has involved himself in ever facet of life here in Kilkenny since moving here and his appointment as Principal of Gaelscoil Osrai in 2008 is testament to the esteem in which he is held,” said Cllr Fitzpatrick, in her proposal speech.
The new mayor has been a member of the National Executive of the Labour Party on three occasions over the past 20 years, and has been Deputy Mayor of Kilkenny on two occasions. He said he was looking forward to the 12 months ahead, and that he would himself strive to accommodate a wide spectrum of views and ideas.
“I personally promise to be a better listener than I may have been in the past,” he said.
“I know that as mayor, I have a duty to represent all of the views in this chamber and outside. I will do my very best to be a fair chairperson and to represent this council and city in the best way I can.”
In his closing remarks, he made reference to Daniel O’ Connell – a fellow Kerry man – whose bust is in the council chamber.
“I hope that in whatever small way I can that I will lead the members here to work together to leave this city at least a little bit better than we found it,” he said.