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Councillor Alan O'Callaghan, who was elected as the new Clare County Council chairman on Friday afternoon with the new vice-chairperson, Councillor Mary Howard.

Councillor O’Callaghan Powers His Way To Council Chairman



Motor rallying enthusiast, Councillor Alan O’Callaghan, powered his way to the top of Clare County Council following his election as the new chairman at its annual general meeting on Friday afternoon.

After spending ten years on the council, Councillor O’Callaghan increased his first preference share from 1,117 votes in 2019 to 1,475 paving the way for his election in the third count when he exceeded the quota, unlike his previous two elections when he was elected without reaching the quota.

The former Fianna Fáil publican, who was elected unanimously without a vote as part of the power-sharing agreement, was proposed by Councillor Pat Hayes (FF) and was seconded by Councillor Pat Burke (FG).


In his acceptance speech at the council chamber, Councillor O’Callaghan recalled he wasn’t sure whether he would be re-elected as a councillor, never mind being afforded the honour of representing Clare as cathaoirleach.

The father-of-two paid tribute to his predecessor, Councillor Joe Cooney and everyone who has previously held this office.

He welcomed his wife, Aideen, and his two sons Liam and James, family members and friends to the chamber.

“I want to thank them for supporting me over my past 10 years as a councillor, through the highs and lows. I hope to do you proud during my stint as cathaoirleach.

“This is my proudest day as an elected member and I look forward to representing my family, Kilmurry, this council and all of Clare during the next 12 months.

“I am humbled and deeply privileged to assume this role and to do so with your
full support,” he said.
He called on the council to adopt a fresh approach to how its does its business.

“Tourism can be a big driver in this regard, with its potential to create and
sustain jobs and to draw people to visit and spend in our county. Clare County
Council’s tourism directorate has done superb work in growing tourism in the
county and we need to continue to push this work forward.”

Councillor O’Callaghan hoped the development of Craggaunowen, Bunratty and Knappogue would continue over the coming years.

“The Cliffs of Moher is the shining success story of tourism in Clare but with the work that has been done in the likes of the Vandeleur Garden and Loop Head, and the work that is ongoing in Inis Cealtra, the sky is the limit for what can be achieved.

“Events like the World Rally Championship are also crucial to putting the spotlight on Clare and to attracting visitors here. This huge international event was touted to come to our shores from 2025, with the potential for a stage to be held in Clare.

“However, the Government has yet to stump up the funding to ensure the plans can proceed,” he said.

One of his top priorities for the year ahead is to push ministers and the
government to provide the necessary funds so that the WRC can be brought to

“Clare has the opportunity to focus the eyes of the world on our county
through this event and we must spare no effort in making this happen.
“This would bring 250,000 to Clare, which I want to put back on the political agenda again,” he stressed.

Another priority of Councillor O’Callaghan is improving and upgrading Clare’s road network. He said Clare needs decent and well-maintained roads to facilitate economic growth and for
our people to be safe as they go to work and school and as they go about their
daily lives.

This can only be achieved through securing more funding from central
government for roads projects and upkeep, as well as by progressing work
programmes on the ground in every municipal district in the county.

While roads staff do a stellar job, he said more resources are needed to make real progress in improving the road network.

He looked forward to working with the Chief Executive and the staff of Clare
County Council during the coming weeks and months in establishing a roadmap for the development and management of County Clare over the five- year lifespan of this council.

Councillor Mary Howard (FG) was elected as vice-chairperson of the council for the coming year.


Dan Danaher

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