Council Affairs: Jockeying for position in DEM race

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

SINN Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has been a man hotly-tipped to be Limerick’s first directly-elected mayor (DEM) by the man on the street for sometime now, if he were ever to throw his name into the hat.

However, having just announced his candidacy, and as the number of horses on the mayoral track grows, the Sinn Féin man will face something far from a one pony race. There are plenty of other real contenders with plenty of gallop in them that say ‘nay’ to that prediction.

Two Limerick TDs are now in contention for the role as Limerick’s ‘big kahuna’, with the Green Party’s Brian Leddin the first man out of the traps for the June 7 election.

Late to the race, Quinlivan might be, but Fine Gael aren’t even out of the stables yet. Even if Cllr Daniel Butler is making all the shapes of a man about to announce.

Quinivan put out his stall after the Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomhairle last weekend, saying he and wants to be mayor for all the people of Limerick.

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“The people of Limerick need a mayor who will stand up for Limerick, who will work hard to ensure that we get a fair deal from the government and that our city and county work better for its people. That is what I am committed to delivering,” he insisted.

“The people of Limerick need change. They need change to end the crisis at University Hospital Limerick, tackle the housing crisis and deliver much-needed investment and regeneration across our city and county. As a mayor for all the people of Limerick, I would deliver this change. Limerick has so much potential, but this potential must be unlocked.”

Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou also reckons Maurice is the best buachaill for the job. Giving him a pat on the head and a glorious reference, she considered him a strong voice for the people of Limerick.

“By voting for Maurice Quinlivan for Mayor of Limerick, you are voting for a mayor for the people,” she enthused.

The stalls are all out now more or less, bar the blue-shirts, but judging by some of Cllr Daniel Butler’s recent social media posts about leadership, it won’t be long now.

Over in Mordor, things are as Machiavellian as always with the gang in Fianna Fáil. It would appear that their candidate Dee Ryan has upset some of the party’s foot soldiers who still have their knickers in a twist over some of her historic social media posts – or just not getting the nod themselves.

Back to bite her on the arse, the fact that she took potshots at top dog Micheál Martin in the days when she was out canvassing for Michael Noonan hasn’t gone down at all well.

She might claim that her opinion has “evolved”, but the fact she ever had the cheek to question Martin’s leadership skills in the first place has soured some of the support.

Fianna Fáil stalwarts Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon and Cllr Michael Collins believe the party should have consulted with the grass roots members before the selection of a DEM candidate. Cllr Collins believes that the move shows a lack of respect, while Cllr O’Hanlon confessed that he probably won’t be campaigning for his party’s candidate.

Will Cllr O’Hanlon be too busy washing his hair to campaign for Ms Ryan? No, but he did suggest that his constituents might not even go out to vote in June, given the number of contests on the same day.

What we really need, I reckon, is a DEM, who doesn’t even have a social media account. Are any of them on Tinder, I wonder?