Cllr Sarah O’Reilly looks poised to become the next cathaoirleach.

Aontú Cllr to claim county chain

Sarah O’Reilly, representing the anti-abortion republican party Aontú, is to be named next Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council.

The elevation as first citizen of the county will take place when the local authority meets for its AGM next week, Monday, June 15.

That event is set to take place at the Cavan Leisure Centre, in a bid to better manage social distancing rules, and Cllr O’Reilly, if all goes as planned, will succeed the outgoing Shane P O’Reilly of Fianna Fáil.

Others potential candidate in the mix, or due to move into the role of Cathaoirleach in the coming years, include Philip Brady, Clifford Kelly, and John Paul Feeley, all Fianna Fáil.

Peadar Toibín’s fledgling Aontú has seen its biggest rise in support national in counties along the border and north-east region.

Cllr O’Reilly topped the poll in Bailieborough-Cootehill in the May 2019 local elections, earning 1,704 votes and 15% of first preferences, to become the party’s first elected councillor in the country.

She then stood as a candidate in the February 2020 General Election only to be eliminated in Count 9 after receiving almost 4,000 first preferences to start out with.

It will be yet another first for her and her party when she takes the chain of office next Monday.

A spokesperson for the local authority confirmed the decision to host the meeting at the Drumalee-based sports complex.

They said the hosting of the meeting in the facility’s sports hall will allow all councillors to attend the meeting in person while maintaining social distancing.

“In order to ensure the safety of all present at the meeting, the number of attendees including council staff, guests, and family members, will be kept to a minimum. The meeting will also be of shorter duration than previous AGMs to further reduce the risk to all present.”

They added: “A protocol will be issued to all meeting attendees in advance which will help ensure the safe and efficient running of the AGM.”