VETERAN Killarney councillor Michael Gleeson has announced his decision to leave active political life.
The vastly experienced Kerry Independent Alliance representative shocked colleagues and officials at the close of today’s meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council when he revealed that it would be his final MD meeting.
He said his party would be informing the council of its decision on who should succeed him in due course and that it will be known prior to the annual general meeting of the council on June 25.
The established practice is for the party of a councillor stepping down to nominate who will fill the seat until the next local election.
Cllr Gleeson, who is 75, said he has represented Killarney in various forms and guises since 1983 and it was time to move on.
“I have a few hills to climb and, hopefully, the knees will last,” he said.
He added that many strange things have happened in his years on the council and there was a little bit of blackguarding on occasions.
“I’ll return to that when I write the book,” he quipped.
Mayor Brendan Cronin led the tributes to Cllr Gleeson and he wished him well in everything he does.
“I’m stuck for words. Michael Gleeson has always been a man of tremendous integrity and honesty in everything he did. He always served with distinction and honour,” he stated.
A former teacher at the Presentation Monastery in Killarney and the holder of two All-Ireland medals with Kerry, Cllr Gleeson has been one of the most prominent personalities in Kerry politics for nearly 40 years.
A former Labour Party councillor, he helped set up the South Kerry Independent Alliance – now a countywide party – and he has been one of the most consistent vote winners in the county ever since. He also contested the 2011 general election and polled extremely well although he didn’t win a seat.
Cllr Gleeson and his wife, Kathleen, live in Clasheen, Killarney and he is a stalwart with Spa GAA club and won seven O’Donoghue Cup medals and an All-Ireland Club Championship with East Kerry in 1971.