Scarteen surge for power after 100-year wait

Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen, pictured with his wife, Katie, following hie election as mayor.
Pictures: Domnick Walsh

KERRY’S new first citizen has paid a warm tribute to his first lady, Katie O’Connell from Killarney, who he said will be a great help and support to him during his 12-month term in office.

In his acceptance speak at yesterday’s annual general meeting of Kerry County Council, newly elected Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen, said he knows she will give him great assistance, guidance and support in the year ahead.

“Although today marks the highlight of my political career, it comes nowhere near the best day of my life when I married Katie in September,” he said.

“Katie is full of life. She gives whatever she is involved in well over 100 per cent. I’m lucky she has a good interest in politics and I suppose it helps she has the same persuasion,” Cllr Connor-Scarteen remarked.

Referring to the traditional visit of the Mayor of Kerry to the US every March, the new mayor added: “I don’t know if we’ll get to New York next St Patrick’s Day but, if we do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Katie trying to lead the parade – she’s that type of person”.

Taking possession of the chain of office was a long time coming for the Connor-Scarteen political dynasty from Kenmare and the wait was not lost on the new mayor following his election yesterday.

Patrick and Katie pictured with his parents and mentors Michael and Eleanor Connor-Scarteen

The Fine Gael councillor was elected to succeed Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Niall Kelleher after he comfortably defeated Sinn Fein nominee Cllr Robert Beasley.

Cllr Connor-Scarteen reflected on his family’s lifetime in politics over the past 100 years and he also celebrated the fact that he becomes the first Kenmare person to become chair of the council since it was founded in 1899.

He recalled the great service of his grandfather, Pat, who sat beside his own brother, Tim, on the council for one term before Pat went on to represent Kerry in Seanad Éireann and Dáil Éireann.

“For over 50 years we were Kenmare’s only local political representatives,” he noted.

Mayor Connor-Scarteen also paid a warm tribute to his father, Michael, a former long-serving member of the council and general election candidate, who he described as his political mentor.

“Dad, like his father before him, was excellent at getting things done and delivering for constituents.

Like father like son: Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen, pictured with his father, Michael, who was a long-serving councillor

“He was well able to put across his point with traits of hard work, diplomacy, courtesy and respect most commonly used to achieve results,” he said.

“Despite his easy-going manner, he still possesses great political skills,” the newly elected mayor added in his tribute to his father.

Cllr Connor-Scarteen recalled that one of his father’s first endeavours before putting his name on a ballot paper was removing the O from O’Connor through deed poll so that his name would be higher up the ballot paper. He also formally added Scarteen, the townland where his father was from, to his name.

The new mayor also paid tribute to his mother, Eleanor, who has lived with politics for most of her life.

“She has been involved with improvements to our community and she has kept the business going when my father and I pursued our passion for politics and work as councillors,” said Mayor Connor-Scarteen who was unsuccessful in his attempt to win a seat in Seanad Éireann this year.

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