It was a historic day in the chamber of Limerick County Council on Friday when Cllr. John Sheahan from Glin was elected the 115th Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council. Cllr Sheahan is the 43rd person to hold the office and is of course the last as Limerick County Council and Limerick City Council will be amalgamated into a joint authority ahead of the 2014 Local Government Elections.

The public gallery was packed to capacity with Cllr Sheahan’s family members including his mother Anne and many supporters from west Limerick who all wanted to be present for this historic occasion, the last ever A.G.M of Limerick County council.

Many tributes were paid to the outing Cathaoirleach Cllr. Jerome Scanlan and Leas Cathaoirleach Cllr. Leo Walsh.

Cllr. Sheahan was proposed by Cllr. Liam Galvin who now takes over from Cllr. Sheahan as the Fine Gael party leader on the Council and seconded by Cllr. Stephen Keary. Murroe based Fine Gael councillor John Egan, who is well known among the farming organisations was elected Leas Cathaoir-leach.

In the course of his acceptance address the new Cathaoirleach quoted actor Cary Grant, “Probably no greater honour can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues,” before acknowledging the sense of occasion. “This year, the Chair of Limerick County Council is unique in the sense that it is the last Chair of this Council as we know it. This local authority was established in 1899 and will cease in its present format in June 2014. We welcome and embrace the establishment of the new single authority of Limerick City and County Council. I would like at this point to acknowledge the contribution of previous Cathaoirleach to this authority and, in my year as Cathaoirleach, I intend to honour former Cathaoirligh and former county managers for their contribution. My home area of Glin/Ballyhahill/Loughill has had representation on this council since its inception. Unfortunately, none of these previous members were blessed with the honour of being Cathaoirleach. While this one is the last, I am honoured to be the first from the western half of the Estuary”.

Continuing the new Cathaoirleach said “The role of Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council could be described as that of an ambassador for this authority and the people of County Limerick, whether that be at home or away. As First Citizen of the county, it is my intention to lead by example, to be proactive in moving Limerick County forward in tandem with the manager, the officials and members of the council. In my year as Cathaoirleach I intend to work closely with management and officials to deliver on projects such as an age-friendly county and promoting the county in conjunction with the City of Culture 2014,” he vowed.

Among the first to congratulate the new Cathaoirleach were his wife Mary, his daughters Nicola and Claire and his mother Anne.