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New Labour mayor of South Dublin County will "continue to be outspoken"

A number of Labour councillors have left the party, but new Mayor Dermot Looney said he intends to stay with the party – even if his views are sometimes ‘left field’.

Dermot Looney
Dermot Looney

THE NEW SOUTH Dublin County mayor has been named as Dermot Looney, a Labour councillor.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he said he was delighted with his new role, and that despite some recent unrest within the Labour Party, he has no plans to leave.

Looney, a primary school teacher by profession, said the role is a “great honour” for both himself and for the people of his local community in Dublin 12, as he is the first ever mayor from this area.

Describing himself as “an accidental mayor”, he said that it was “the ideas that led me into politics”.

Principles

Mayor Looney said that as councillor for the past four years, he has tried to stand by his principles, and that sometimes this can be “very tough”. Looney said that sometimes he does not enjoy the full support of the leadership, as he is on the ‘left field’, but has won respect on the council for leading the charge on issues like councillors’ expenses and remuneration.

“I have tried to stand by my own values and the values I thought the Labour Party was about,” he said.

He said the councillors work coherently together to achieve certain aims, and in the past few years that has included the setting up of a homeless accommodation unit, which was partly funded by councillors giving up certain expenses.

He was one of the public representatives who opposed Labour going into government in 2011.

Unfortunately, a lot of what I said at the time and what critics said at the time has been vindicated.

He intends to meet government ministers to discuss issues including ensuring that vulnerable people are protected. His three priorities as mayor are working for young people, older people and the environment.

When asked if the work he and his fellow councillors do is recognised by the party, he said that sometimes it is, and other times it isn’t.

He aims to tackle littering and illegal dumping, and is looking forward to sitting down and listening to people – and in particular communicating through social media.

Soon, he will discuss with Dublin’s other mayors, and the Lord Mayor, the issue of a directly-elected mayor for Dublin. He said that the discussion on this needs to be extended online so that citizens can have their say.

Labour Party

Some “excellent people” have left the Labour Party of late, said Looney, adding that it is “very unfortunate”. He said that he will be staying in the Labour Party and trying to influence it.

I have been outspoken in the past and will continue to be.

He hopes that in the time ahead, the leadership of the party will “listen to members of the Labour Party and supporters”, as well as those who say they won’t vote for Labour, about the reasons they say this.

Councillor Looney’s election marks the final mayoral election in the term of the current council. Councillor Eamon Tuffy (Labour) was elected Deputy Mayor.

After Looney was named the new mayor, tributes were paid to the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Cathal King, and Deputy Mayor Councillor Guss O’ Connell.

Read: Colm Keaveney hits back: The Labour chief whip is the ‘professor of sniping’>

Read: “It’s undemocratic” – Labour councillor quits the party over abortion>

Read: This man is the new Lord Mayor of Dublin>

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