‘My focus will be on a more inclusive county’

by Mark O'Brien

THE new Mayor of South Dublin has said that he hopes to promote a positive message of “A Healthy County – A Sustainable County – A Listening County” during his time in office.
Cllr Paul Gogarty (Ind) was elected Mayor at the annual meeting of South Dublin County Council held on Friday, June 30 in County Hall, Tallaght.
Cllr Gogarty was proposed for the top role by councillors Liona O’Toole (Ind) and Danny O’Brien (SF)
Following a roll call vote, Cllr Gogarty was then elected to the office of Mayor.
In nominating Cllr Gogarty, Cllr O’Toole said: “Paul has been a vigorous campaigner over the years and helped to stop housing being built along the sensitive Liffey Valley amenity lands when he famously organised a community-led plebiscite on the issue across the Lucan community.
“Paul has also been an outspoken critic of political cronyism and corruption.
“He was the only politician, long before it became popular to do so, to seek an investigation by An Garda Siochana into Senator Ivor Callely’s phone expense claims, which ultimately led to a prison sentence.”
In his acceptance speech, Cllr Gogarty outlined what he hopes to achieve in his year in office.
He said: “I want to highlight the work of the many volunteers in our communities who work tirelessly to improve the lives of our citizens.
“I want to bring the work of these selfless volunteers to the fore so that others may be inspired by their good works and follow suit.
“I want to showcase the many services already available in our county to help people develop their minds or improve their fitness.
“I want to promote the benefits of healthy eating and exercise on physical and mental well-being and look at ways of helping people to develop healthy habits that will help their reach their personal and professional goals.”
Cllr Gogarty told The Gazette he hoped to particularly focus on the health and mental well-being of young people.
He said: “We have terrible problems with mental health amongst our young people. What I want to promote are things like exercise, a healthy mind and good diet. These are all things that contribute to healthy habits.”
He added that he felt sport played a crucial part in both physical and mental well-being and he hoped to find ways to keep young people involved in sport.
“There’s a huge drop-out rate amongst girls, in particular in the teenage years, so anything that can be done to keep people in sport is huge.”
He added that he wanted to enable people to submit ideas that would make South Dublin a better place to live, and he wanted to continue to push to make South Dublin a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious county.
Cllr Gogarty’s election drew considerable media attention due to an infamous exchange with Emmet Stagg in the Dail when he was a TD, but he said that he also hopes to turn this incident into a positive while serving as the new mayor.
He said: “It’s fair to say in terms of national media, it’s not every South Dublin Mayor that would get as much coverage as I did.
“More people would know that I’m mayor [now], so it does give me the opportunity to use my profile in a positive way.”

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