Michael Takes The Mayoral Chain

Michael Collins following his election as Mayor of Limerick City and County Council.

Limerick City and County Council has a new Mayor following the election on Tuesday afternoon of Newcastlewest based Fianna Fail Councillor Michael Collins. He takes over from Fine Gael’s Councillor Michael Sheehan who has completed his term.
It was a historic moment for the Newcastlewest based Fianna Fáil member and for the Council as the Killeedy native becomes the last Mayor to be elected by Council members. At a referendum in 2019, Limerick voted 52.4% to 47.6% in favour of a directly elected Mayor from 2021.
The meeting of Limerick City and County Council took place in the unusual surroundings of Limerick Racecourse in order to comply with Covid-19 guidelines set down by the government.
The Fianna Fail leader on the Council was elected by 31 votes to eight, beating Green Party Councillor Seán Hartigan, having been proposed and seconded by his party colleagues Kieran O’Hanlon and Francis Foley.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and a number of independent councillors voted for Cllr Michael Collins with Labour, Sinn Féin, Green Party and one independent voting for Cllr Seán Hartigan.
Councillor Collins, who is steeped in a traditional Republican background, was first elected to the old Limerick County Council in 2004.
The new Mayor has been comfortably elected at each Local Elections since and last February stood in the General Election. Despite only being added to the Fianna Fáil ticket just three weeks before polling day, Cllr Collins polled a hugely impressive 5,150 first preference votes.
In his first year on the Council in 2004, Cllr Collins was vice-chairman to then chairman, former Cllr Eddie Wade and he has been chairperson of the Newcastlewest Area and the Newcastlewest Municipal District on a couple of occasions.
Speaking following his election Mayor Michael Collins said: “Today is one of the proudest days of my political career as I stand here addressing you as first citizen of our great city and county. It is a huge honour for me to have been elected to this office, something that I have dreamed of, since before I was even elected to the old Limerick County Council for the very first time as a fresh faced 35 year old in 2004.”
Addressing the Council, his family and supporters, which include his mother Peggy, who is 90 years old, Mayor Collins added that he will work with business and communities who are experiencing difficult times as a result of Covid-19; called for a reduction in the VAT rate for the hospitality sector and said there needs to be renewed efforts to support Shannon Airport.
Mayor Collins had a special thank you for those who volunteered during the Covid-19 crisis: “This sense of community and selflessness came into its own a couple of months ago with the way communities came together under the umbrella of the Community Response to Covid. Guided by Limerick City and County Council staff, community after community, group after group, person after person stood up and was counted.”
The new mayor is well known in music circles, is a multi-instrumentalist and is a prominent member of Comhaltas, his parents were founding members of Killeedy Comhaltas.
Cllr Collins is married to Fiona, nee O’Connor, from Newcastlewest and the couple have three sons, Shane who is married to Sharon and has a son Shane, Miceál and Darragh.
Fianna Fáil also took the Office of Deputy Mayor, with Cllr Azad Talukdar being elected. He beat Labour’s Conor Sheehan by 31 votes to eight.
Last year, also in Limerick Racecourse, Cllr Talukdar made history when he was elected as the first ever Muslim councillor in Limerick.