PHOTO: Newly installed Mayor of Clonakilty, Michael O’ Neill, Jnr., at last Thursday evenings public ceremony, with his fellow Mayors in front for the next five years. From left: Chris Hinchy, (2023-'24); Anthony McDermott, (2021-'22); current Deputy Mayor Pádraig O' Reilly, (2020-’21) and Paddy McCarthy, (2022-'23). At back, the four now retired Mayors who had served along with Anthony McDermott over the last five years, from left: Colette Twomey; Gretta O’ Donovan; John M. Loughnan and Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin. (Photo: Anna Groniecka Photography)
Michael O’ Neill, Jnr., was installed as the new "Mayor of Clonakilty" at a pleasant public ceremony at Asna Square last Thursday 6th June. In glorious sunshine, and with a large crowd assembled, the outgoing Mayor, Gretta O' Donovan, led her four colleagues - Deputy Mayor Colette Twomey, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, Anthony McDermott and John Loughnan from O' Donovan's Hotel and arrived to great applause at Asna Square.
A few minutes later, the Mayor asked people to welcome the members of the newly-elected Mayoral Council for the coming five years. They too arrived from O' Donovan's Hotel, and were led by the incoming Mayor Michael O' Neill and his colleagues in order of election - Deputy Mayor Pádraig O' Reilly, Paddy McCarthy and Chris Hinchy. There was great applause too for them and they shook hands with the outgoing Mayors and stood beside them under the chestnut tree.
Mayor Gretta O' Donovan extended a Céad Míle Fáilte to all, and lowered the Flag of the Borough of Clonakilty, signalling the end of the first Mayoral Council, elected in 2014. In her speech she thanked her family and all who had supported her and her outgoing colleagues over the last five years. She then called on the incoming Mayor, Michael O' Neill to step forward to accept the Mayoral Robe and Mayoral Chain.
There was great applause as the new proud Mayor beamed in the evening sun. His first act was to raise the Clonakilty flag again to mark the commencement of another five years of community Mayors of Clonakilty.
In a wide-ranging speech he saluted all involved in the Mayoral Council project and the Mayors over the last five years. He was upbeat and obviously very proud of Clonakilty given his own family's history that his great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle had all been Town Council Mayors of Clonakilty in times past. He thanked his wife, parents, brothers and work colleagues for their support and the people of Clonakilty who had voted in the recent Mayoral election.
He then called on outgoing Deputy Mayor Colette Twomey and her successor Pádraig O' Reilly to step forward. Colette removed the Deputy Mayors chain she was wearing and handed it to the new Mayor who then presented it to Pádraig, again to great applause.
The Mayor then called on members of Clonakilty Brass Band who were present to lead the crowd on their instruments in "Amhrán na bhFiann" bringing the ceremony to an end.
Afterwards, there was great excitement as family, friends and the general public congratulated all involved and there were many photos taken.
It was very much appreciated that among the attendees at the ceremony were locally-based politicians Minister Jim Daly, TD; Michael Collins, TD; Cllr. Paul Hayes and Cllr. Christopher O' Sullivan, both of Cork County Council as well as Mons. Aidan O' Driscoll, PP and Rev. Kingsley Sutton and his wife Daphne. (The following day, Cllr. O' Sullivan was elected as the Mayor of County Cork for the coming year).
On the previous Tuesday, the outgoing Mayoral Council held a joint meeting with the incoming group where issues for the new Mayors to consider were discussed.
Afterwards, Mayor Gretta O’ Donovan, on behalf of her colleagues and the people of Clonakilty, thanked a number of invited guests who had supported the Mayors and the Mayoral Council as a body, in various ways over the previous five years. Each was presented with a “Scroll of Thanks”, which was very much appreciated by all present.
Full report and photos on the Clonakilty Mayoral Council Facebook page.