*Chair of the Shannon MD, Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF). Photograph: Eamon Ward. 

CLLR PAT O’Gorman (FF) has been elected as Cathaoirleach of the Shannon Municipal District for the first time.

Cratloe native O’Gorman who was co-opted to Clare County Council following the General Election success of Cathal Crowe (FF) in February 2020 successfully defended this seat in last month’s local elections where he polled 1,183 first preference votes.

Having previously served from 1999 to 2004 in the Killaloe area, O’Gorman’s success last month marked his first victory in a local election in twenty five years.

His crest of a wave continued when he was proposed by Cllr David Griffin (FF) and seconded by Cllr Tony Mulcahy (FG) to become the new Cathaoirleach of the Shannon MD. Outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) is the new Leas Cathaoirleach, she was reluctant to take on the role given that she will be contesting the upcoming General Election.

On his priorities for the year ahead, O’Gorman said,“The One Shannon Hub project will be a major piece of infrastructure for Shannon, the upgrade of the N19 into the airport from the Drumgeely roundabout and the Shannon Flood Relief Scheme is something I want to progress. The people of Shannon can’t insure their houses and it would be of great benefit to the people of Shannon, to businesses, the airport and the Golf Course”.

He added, “The Shannon to Bunratty greenway, going on to Sixmilebridge, is something I would be prioritising and I spoke about the continuous improvement of our road network. I also spoke about building on the success of Shannon Airport through a close working relationship with Shannon Airport Group, and continuing my work with community groups through the Community Grants Scheme. Since the Council has taken over Bunratty Castle and Folk Park it has thrived, and during my tenure as Cathaoirleach I want it to continue”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo following his election to the Council, he commented, “the way I got the vote it was spread all over the whole constituency, I had roughly 320 votes in my own area of Cratloe which wouldn’t be a big base, it is a small parish in comparison with Clonlara, Sixmilebridge and Newmarket-on-Fergus but I worked hard to get the vote out in all the areas, I worked from Latoon Bridge to the Limerick border, after I got co-opted when Cathal Crowe got elected to the Dáil I made up my mind that day that I was going to work tirelessly for the people in the Shannon Municipal District for the four years”.

Politics changed between 2004 and 2020 at a local level, a time at which he was no longer a public representative. “I think it is easier would you believe than going back all those years ago, Fianna Fáil had the power that time, I was the Mayor from 2003 to 2004 and every meeting was a battle because Fianna Fáil had all the plum jobs as they used to call them, everyone was trying to take a shot at you because you were the main party and you had the overall majority. It is working better now with the power sharing that is in place at the moment, we work in harmony, we work together and we work for the betterment of Co Clare”.

While was one of two co-opted councillors in the Shannon MD, he is now the party’s most experienced representative in the area where he is joined by first-time councillors, Griffin and Cllr Rachel Hartigan (FF). “I’m delighted that David Griffin and Rachel Hartigan got elected with me, they are two young people, Rachel is below on the Limerick border, I’m in the middle and David Griffin is up at the top of the constituency in Newmarket-on-Fergus so geographically we’re spread out well, if we can work together. We went into each other’s areas and tried to get as many votes as we could, if someone said to me they were giving a number one vote to David Griffin then I asked for number two, he did the same below in Cratloe and Rachel in Ardnacrusha and Parteen, it showed the way the vote split”.

Vote management for Fianna Fáil was better in the Shannon MD compared with West Clare where Cillian Murphy (FF) lost his seat. “We were spread out in the Shannon MD, I don’t know what way they were in West Clare because I was so busy minding my own business that I didn’t have time, we’ll sit down and analyse and look at the write-ups in The Echo and The Champion. From our point of view in the Shannon MD, I’m absolutely delighted that three Fianna Fáil councillors ran and got elected fairly comfortably, I was in the fifth position, Rachel was third and David headed the poll which is a fairly strong team effort from the three of us”.

From 2020 to 2024 there was two Cratloe representatives in the Shannon MD, however with PJ Ryan (IND) losing his seat, Pat’s workload is set to increase in his native village. “I’m very sorry for PJ Ryan, he did work very hard as a local councillor, I know the work involved and I know the work PJ put in, I was in the very same position in 2004 when I lost by six votes, it is not a place to be and it will take PJ and his family a long time to get over it, it is not only PJ this is a family and a community, it is all the people he has working for him and his friends because it affects everybody, you won’t get elected by yourself, the likes of Pat Murphy, Mike Enright, Mick Mac, my own brothers, sisters, my son, his wife and my partner Trish every single person had a job to do to get me to where I am”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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