A native of Castletroy, he secured 11 votes from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors in City Hall this Monday. He was nominated as mayor by party colleague Cllr Michael Hourigan and seconded by Cllr James Collins (FF).
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, who secured the highest number of votes in the recent local elections, was also nominated for mayor, and received seven votes from Sinn Fein, The Labour Party and independent councillor John Gilligan.
First-time councillor Cian Prendiville of the Anti-Austerity Alliance was also nominated by his party and received three votes.
After his election, the new Mayor said it was the most nervous and exhilarating morning of his life.
The retired schoolteacher vowed to facilitate and encourage all creative and positive ideas from individuals and community groups, and promised he would be “working for the betterment of all”.
He described the merger of Limerick City and Council as a “second chance to get it right”, and offered a better way to do business. He also called on his fellow 20 Metropolitan District councillors to feel free to offer him any advice or criticism during his term in office.
Fianna Fail councillor James Collins was quick to point out that Cllr Sheahan’s role as mayor was mostly ceremonial, and that his main duty was to chair meetings.
“We were democratically elected and every voice is equal. Our statutory function is to set policy and it’s the executive’s job to implement it,” said Cllr Collins.
“You have no special powers,” he told Mayor Sheahan.
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon (FF) predicted that the new mayor would do a very good job and described him as “well capable”.
Cllr John Gilligan, the only independent in the three city wards, congratulated Mayor Sheahan and said he could fill any office with distinction. The City North councillor went on to say he had great personal time for the new mayor before pointing out that his chains were not those of the mayor but a sheriff’s
“I’m not going to go all John Wayne and call you sheriff but they are a sheriff’s chains and not the mayor’s. Unfortunately we’re more concerned about who’s going to spend the rates at the Crescent Shopping Centre,” he claimed.
Former Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Maria Byrne (FG) was elected deputy mayor after securing 11 votes from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail colleagues. Mayor Sheahan described Cllr Byrne as a “formidable woman”, and said they would work well together.