Mayor of Galway

Mayor of Galway
Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe
Noel Larkin (Ind)

since June 2016
Appointer Galway City Council
Term length 1 year
Inaugural holder Peirce Lynch
Formation 1485
Salary €40,565[1]

The office of Mayor of Galway is an honorific title used by the Irish: Cathaoirleach of Galway City Council. The Council has jurisdiction throughout its administrative area of the city of Galway which is the largest city in the province of Connacht, in Ireland. The office was originally established by a charter issued by King Richard III of England in December 1484 and had significant powers. The office was all but abolished under the Local Government Act 2001. All that remains of the office, per section 11 of the Act is a symbolic role: "Subject to this Act, royal charters and letters patent relating to local authorities shall continue to apply for ceremonial and related purposes in accordance with local civic tradition but shall otherwise cease to have effect.". The Act goes on to state the chairman of the Council must be styled the Cathaoirleach and that "Any reference in any other enactment to the lord mayor, mayor, chairman, deputy lord mayor, deputy mayor or vice-chairman or cognate words shall, where the context so requires, be read as a reference to the Cathaoirleach or Leas-Chathaoirleach or other title standing for the time being." (section 31 (3)).

Election to the office

The Cathaoirleach is elected to office annually by councillors of Galway City Council from amongst its members. There is no popular vote. Up to 1841, Mayors were elected in August and took office in September. There was a strong tradition of festivities to mark this start of a new municipal year. Current practise is for the term of office to begin in June with the former Mayor presenting the Chain of Office to the incoming Mayor, thus formally inaugurating a new term. The process is repeated the following June, unless the same person is given a second consecutive term.

History of the office

The office has existed, with a break of ninety-seven years, since it was inaugurated in 1485. The Mayor led Galway Corporation from 1485 to 1841 and again from 1937 to 2001.

Previous to the creation of the mayoralty, the town of Galway was ruled by a Provost or Sovereign, who were appointed by the Earl of Ulster. After the murder of the 3rd Earl in June 1333, the town was under the control of successive members of the Clanricarde line of the House of Burke family. This situation lasted until well into the 15th century. However, charters from Richard III (in 1396) and Edward IV (in 1364) gave the citizens of the town semi-independence from the Clanricardes.

The office of Mayor of Galway was created by a charter issued by King Richard III of England in December 1484 at the solicitation of merchants from the city's leading families, known as the Tribes of Galway. This made Galway a virtual city-state. Although it survived the turbulent 17th century, the massive corruption of the office led to its disestablishment in 1841, when Galway Corporation was relegated to the status of an Urban District Council, headed by a chairman. In 1937 the city regained its corporation status and the office of Mayor was re-installed.

List of mayors

"Tribes" period (1485–1654)

Commonwealth and Restoration (1654–91)

Penal era (1691–1762)

Daly regime (1762–1840)

Galway Urban District Council

Galway Corporation was abolished in 1841, not to be restored until 1937.

Mayoralty restored: mayors since 1937

Year Mayor Party Notes
1937–50 Joseph J. Costello
1950–52 Michael O'Flaherty
1952–53 Michael Lydon
1953–54 Joseph Owens
1954–60 Peter Greene
1960–61 James Redington
1961–62 Fintan Coogan, Snr Fine Gael
1962–63 Patrick D. Ryan
1963–64 Martin Divilly
1964–65 Patrick O'Flaherty
1965–66 Brendan Holland
1966–67 Brendan Holland
1967–68 Thomas Tierney
1968–69 Bobby Molloy Fianna Fáil
1969–70 Fintan Coogan, Snr Fine Gael
1970–71 Martin Divilly
1971–72 Mickey Smyth Labour Party
1972–73 Michéal Ó hUiginn Fianna Fáil
1973–74 Patrick O'Flaherty
1974–75 Fintan Coogan, Snr Fine Gael
1975–76 Mary Byrne Fianna Fáil First female mayor (the above-named Hyacinth Daly was a man)
1976–77 Gerard G. Colgan
1977–78 Shelia Jordan
1978–79 John Francis King
1979–80 Michéal Ó hUiginn Fianna Fáil
1980–81 Bridie O'Flaherty Fianna Fáil
Jul–Dec 1981 Claude Toft Died in Office
Dec 1981–82 Michael D. Higgins Labour Party
1982–83 Pat McNamara Independent
1983–84 Michael Leahy Fianna Fáil
1984–85 Mary Byrne Fianna Fáil
1985–86 Bridie O'Flaherty Fianna Fáil Joined the Progressive Democrats while mayor
1986–87 John Mulholland Fine Gael
1987–88 Martin Connolly Progressive Democrats
1988–89 Fintan Coogan, Jnr Fine Gael
1989–90 Angela Lupton Fine Gael
1990–91 Michael D. Higgins Labour Party
1991–92 Michael Leahy Fianna Fáil
1992–93 Pádraic McCormack Fine Gael
1993–94 Henry O'Connor Fianna Fáil
1994–95 Fintan Coogan, Jnr Fine Gael
1995–96 Michéal Ó hUiginn Fianna Fáil
1996–97 John Mulholland Fine Gael
1997–98 Michael Leahy Fianna Fáil
1998–99 Angela Lynch-Lupton Fine Gael
1999–2000 Declan McDonnell Progressive Democrats
2000–01 Martin Quinn Fianna Fáil
2001–02 Donal Lyons Progressive Democrats
2002–03 Val Hanley Fianna Fáil
2003–04 Terry O'Flaherty Progressive Democrats Daughter of former mayor Bridie O'Flaherty
2004–05 Catherine Connolly Labour Party
2005–06 Brian Walsh Fine Gael Youngest recorded Mayor of Galway
2006–07 Niall Ó Brolcháin Green Party
2007–08 Tom Costello Labour Party
2008–09 Pádraig Conneely Fine Gael
2009–10 Declan McDonnell Independent
2010–11 Michael Crowe Fianna Fáil
2011–12 Hildegarde Naughton Fine Gael
2012–13 Terry O'Flaherty Independent
2013–14 Pádraig Conneely Fine Gael
2014–15 Donal Lyons Independent
2015–16 Frank Fahy Fine Gael
2016–17 Noel Larkin Independent


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