Cllr Mary Linehan Foley Set to Make Political History

By Seamus Whelehan

Councillor Mary Linehan Foley.

Cork County Council is expected to elect a woman to an Executive role this Friday (22 June).

Independent Cllr Mary Linehan Foley is destined to replace Fianna Fail’s Ian Doyle as Deputy Mayor of Cork County at the Annual General Meeting of the Authority being held tomorrow.

The Youghal based Cllr is expected to be chosen for the Executive role along with Fianna Fail's Patrick Gerard Murphy from West Cork, who is certain to hold the Mayoral office following a pact between Fianna Fail and the Independent grouping in Cork County.

It is understood that Cllr Linehan Foley will be elected unopposed.  However, Sinn Féin are expected to put Bandon based Paul Hayes forward as their candidate for Mayor.

Fine Gael say they will not be fielding a candidate this year for either position, with the expectation that the Party will back Cllrs Linehan Foley and Murphy for both decision-making roles.

Cllr Linehan Foley currently holds the accolade of being elected as Mayor of Youghal on 3 occasions prior to the abolishment of Town Councils- the first woman ever to hold the post.


The mother of 5 has a family history of political engagement with her father, Paddy Linehan, serving Youghal at Council level for 43 years.

Following her father’s retirement from political life, Mary followed in his footsteps, being elected to Youghal Town Council for the first time in 1999, and every subsequent local election since then.

Throughout her political life the Independent councillor has had an ethos of work hard, respect others and always take a stand for those whose voices are not heard.

One issue important to Councillor Linehan Foley is that of inward investment and the upgrading of East Cork’s road network- both issues, she said,  she will pursue as Deputy Mayor.

Speaking with The East Cork Journal the Youghal based Cllr said she is looking forward to the challenges of the year ahead and being a support to Cllr Murphy.

“It’s a nice geographical spread with one in the very West and one at the very East and between us we will cover the rest of the county.”

She is currently Chairperson of Youghal Town Twinning; Chairperson of Community Radio Youghal; a member of the East Cork Garda Youth Diversion Project and Chairperson of Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group.


The East Cork Cllr is also a member of the Housing and the Arts and Culture Special committees in Cork County Council, and a member of the County level HSE Forum since her election to the Cork County Council and the East Cork Municipal District.