Councillor Joanna Byrne, the people's choice for Mayor of Drogheda.
Ten days ago Drogheda Life ran a poll asking readers to vote for whichever of Drogheda’s ten Councillors they would like to see as the next Mayor of Drogheda. They chose Sinn Fein Councillor Joanna Byrne.
In the system as it stands only sitting Councillors of the Borough can vote but we thought it would be interesting to see who the people of Drogheda would vote for if they could.
It was a little disappointing that only 265 people bothered to vote but today we can publish the results anyway.
Top of the pops with Drogheda Life readers turned out to be Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne who received 70 votes or 26.4% of the total vote with Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan in second place with 58 votes (22%).
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One very keen voter clicked the online voting button beside Joanna Byrne’s name over 200 times! Sadly for him/her only one of those votes actually counts.
Despite the low poll this exercise has been worthwhile for several reasons, not least of which is that it points to an apparent disenchantment with local politics in the Drogheda/South Louth area which is displayed in the some of the comments on social media.
There was much criticism of the pact between Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail Councillors which has been operating for many years now which is aimed at avoiding a Sinn Féin Mayor of Drogheda.
Another bone of contention was that there are now three Councillors on the Council Borough of Drogheda that were co-opted to their positions rather than being there by public vote.
In October 2013, when he brought in the most radical reform of local government in the history of the state, the Minister of the day, Phil Hogan said:
“The whole point of local government reform is to ensure that local Councils deliver better services to their citizens.”
“I want Councils to do more for citizens and local communities. But I accept that first local government must regain public trust.”
“This will take time but the reforms will facilitate by helping to renew the relationship between the citizen and their local Council....”
There can be few people around who would say that his reforms have achieved much, certainly not in Drogheda and South County Louth where the public perception seems to be that the relationship between citizens and their local Council is at a pretty low ebb.
1 - Joanna Byrne – 70 votes (26.4%)
2 - Paddy McQuillan – 58 votes (22%)
3 - Pio Smith – 33 votes (12.5%)
4 - Michelle Hall – 24 votes (9%)
5 - James Byrne – 20 votes (7.5%)
5 - Declan Power – 20 votes (7.5%)
7 - Emma Cutlip – 12 votes (4.5%)
8 - Kevin Callan – 12 votes (4.5%)
9 - Tom Cunningham – 9 votes (3.4%)
10 - Eileen Tully – 7 votes (2.6%)