Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen performed a political U-turn on Tuesday, after seeking a nomination for the position of Deputy Chairman of the Cobh Municipality.
The Cobh based Cllr, who served as Chairman of the Municipal District in 2015, had secured a nomination for the position of Leas Cathaoirleach to directly challenge Independent Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla.
Cllr O’Cadhla had sought the role of Vice Chair after reaching an agreement with Independent Cllr Ger Keohane from Glanmire, who was elected unopposed as Chairman for the coming year.
Cllr O’Cadhla, who nominated Cllr Keohane for the Executive role, was subsequently proposed by the Glanmire based Cllr. and seconded by Cllr Kieran McCarthy.
The Irish language activist said he intended to use the position to forge ties between Cobh and Sydney, Australia, while fighting for increased housing for the region.
O’Cadhla, a member of the People’s Convention, had argued that a Motion he tabled last July seeking to unlock an ocean of untapped heritage between Cobh and Sydney, Australia had become “stagnant” and “use of the position would help to lift that.”
Cllr Rasmussen was nominated for the Vice-Chairman position by Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry and seconded by the outgoing Chairman Fianna Fail Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan.
In an unprecedented move Cllr O’Cadhla requested Cllr. Rasmussen to withdraw from the contest on the basis that he had already held an Executive position, and that party representatives have taken prime positions at County Council level over the past 4 years.
He said "the fact that all political parties divided up the positions on the various committees between themselves on a rotational basis, is antidemocratic."
Cllr Kieran McCarthy said he was unsure whether or not Cllr Rasmussen should withdraw his name. He said he found Cllr Rasmussen worked as hard as any other Cllr when it came to housing.
He said the reason why he had backed Cllr O’Cadhla was that he believed a twinning agreement with Cobh and Sydney should be pursued, to benefit Cobh.
Cllr Rasmussen said being Vice Chair is no different to being an ordinary Cllr “you have no say, you have no power. Being Chair or Vice Chair of a Municipal District will make no difference to a housing proposal brought forward. We will either support you or we won’t.”
He said rather than make a snap decision he would reflect on the matter during the meeting.
Fianna Fail Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan, who backed Cllr Rasmussen for the Vice Chairmanship, stated there is an impression that the parties in Cork County are ganging up on Independent Cllrs which, he said, is not true.
“In Full Council it’s Fianna Fail and the Independents that are in a pact just for the purpose of Mayor and Vice Mayor. All the other committee jobs are disseminated based on the representation for each political party.”
After a lengthy period of reflection Cllr Rasmussen said he was withdrawing his name for Deputy Chair.
He said he was confident that if it went to a vote he would win, but he did not wish any bad blood.