By Dan Walsh
“It is an honour and a privilege for me to be elected Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council and what is truly remarkable I’m only the third woman to achieve this honour in 120 years,”; the opening words of Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy in her acceptance speech following her election as Cathaoirleach at today’s annual general meeting.
Bunclody-based Fianna Fáil member Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy was nominated for the Chair by Cllr Lisa McDonald and seconded by Cllr Pip Breen. Cllr John Hegarty (Fine Gael) nominated Cllr Anthony Donohoe and Cllr Cathal Byrne seconded.
Cllr Murphy was elected with 21 votes; Cllr Donohoe 9; and three abstentions (Cllrs Tom Forde, Davy Hynes and Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin).
Cllr Murphy received congratulations from fellow members and CEO Tom Enright and outgoing Cathaoirleach Cllr Ger Carty, who also received warm compliments for his chairmanship “during the most difficult year when he became the first Cathaoirleach in the history of the Council never to chair a live meeting due to Covid-19” handed over the chains of power to the new incumbent and wished her well.
Cllr Murphy is outgoing Cathaoirleach of Enniscorthy Municipal District and she previously led Enniscorthy immediately after the town councils were abolished in the 2014-’15 term!
Barbara-Anne is the youngest daughter of Rory (and Nancy) Murphy who served on Wexford County Council since 1967 and on her father’s death, she was co-opted to his seat on Wexford County Council in 2004. She was unsuccessful in the 2009 Local Elections but was returned successfully in 2014 and 2019.
Contention for Leas-Cathaoirleach was between Cllr Anthony Connick (Independent), nominated by Cllr Ger Carthy and seconded by Cllr Mary Farrell, and Cllr Frank Staples, nominated by Cllr Bridín Murphy and seconded by Cllr Jim Moore.
Cllr Connick defeated Cllr Staples, 23 votes to 9, and the chains were handed over by outgoing Leas-Cathaoirleach Cllr Garry Laffan, who earlier in the day had been elected Mayor of Wexford for the next year.
Cllr Anthony Connick, who was first elected to New Ross Town Council in 2009, said he was “honoured and privileged” to accept the post, he thanked his fellow councillors and promised to do his best during his term.