Casey set to become new county mayor

Benny Reid with Cllr Martin Mulleady, Cllr Seamus Butler and Cllr Luie McEntire with the document detailing the agreement between Fianna Fail and the Independent councillors. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
Mark Casey will become the first mayor on Longford County Council’s newly elected local authority, the Leader understands.

Mark Casey will become the first mayor on Longford County Council’s newly elected local authority, the Leader understands.

The Independent councillor, together with fellow non party members, Mae Sexton and Gerry Warnock signed up to a deal with Fianna Fáil following last weekend’s local elections.

The terms of the deal pave the way for Cllr Casey to take over as chair when the new council holds its first meeting in ten days time (June 6).

He will be followed by Cllr Warnock with the deal providing two municipal area mayorships for Cllr Mae Sexton.

“It’s an absolute privilege and I’m really humbled to have been selected to be the next mayor of Longford,” said Cllr Casey.

“I’m really humbled by it.”

The Lanesboro representative said he never asked for the chair, insisting it was offered to him by Fianna Fáil chiefs when talks got underway on Sunday.

He said the decision to go into partnership with the main opposition party was an easy one to make.

“Look, Fine Gael have held the balance of power in Longford for so long. They’ve brought in water charges, the property tax, what did they expect?”

Fianna Fáil Cllr Seamus Butler, who secured his own re-election at the weekend, said he was always quietly confident a deal would be reached.

“The conversations we had were constructive and fruitful,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the Independents.”

Job creation and inward investment were aims, he said, which the new coalition hoped to tackle over the next five years.

And he urged those in opposition to row in behind their newly devised blueprint.

“I will be working at that in a single minded fashion myself,” he said.

“We have a good set of councillors now and if we are of one mind as a body, we can achieve great things for Longford.”

Whether Fine Gael members heed those urgings remain unclear after it emerged the party still hadn’t given up on making a late bid to scupper the Fianna Fáil/Independent deal.

One of the negotiators behind the Fine Gael team, Cllr Micheál Carrigy predicted the new found partnership would end in tears.

“I think it makes for a very unstable relationship, I really do,” he said.

“We are disappointed but Friday week has to come yet, so it will be interesting.”