Following an historic pact between the two main parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, long-serving Askeaton-based Councillor Kevin Sheahan was elected first Cathaoirleach of the new Limerick City and County Council at its first meeting in the University Concert Hall last Friday.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, with a combined total of 25 members on the 40-member authority, agreed a pact in the early hours of Friday morning that will see the prestigious positions of Cathaoirleach and Mayor of the Metropolitan District alternate between the two parties for the next five years. Fianna Fail will supply the Cathaoirleach for three of the five years and Fine Gael two with the mayoralty going to Fine Gael for three years and Fianna Fail for two.

In the battle for Cathaoirleach, Kevin Sheahan, who previously served a term as chairman of Limerick County Council and is the longest serving local public representative, was elected with the help of his 13 Fianna Fail colleagues, 12 Fine Gael and two Independents. He saw off the challenge of Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan who secured ten votes and the Anti Austerity Alliance’s Paul Keller who had three votes.

With similar voting patterns, newly elected first time Councillor Joe Crowley, who represents Limerick City North was elected Leas Cathaoirleach ahead of Sinn Fein’s Seamus Browne and Anti Austerity Alliance’s John Loftus.

Last Friday was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, something the new Cathaoirleach noted in his inaugural address, and it was also a very special day for him personally, it was his wedding anniversary. The romantic in the new Cathaoirleach came to the fore when he marked the occasion by presenting his wife Caroline with a bouquet of flowers on the stage in the Concert Hall.

Meanwhile Fine Gael’s Tom Neville was elected Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District Adare/ Rathkeale at its first meeting on Tuesday.

Kevin Sheahan’s election may be only the first part of an historic double for West Limerick. Speculation is that when the Limerick Metropolitan Area elects its first Mayor later this month, it will be Sheahan’s namesake and fellow Askeaton native, and Fine Gael Cllr, Mich-ael Sheahan who receives the Mayoral chain.