By Sean Moriarty

By the time this week’s edition of the Killarney Advertiser hits the shops Killarney will have a new mayor.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Killarney Municipal District takes place today (Friday) in Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre, at 1.30pm.

In a break from tradition, the meeting will not take place at the Town Hall on Kenmare Place as the boardroom there is too small to allow for social distancing.

Michael Gleeson will, today, end his 12 month term as the town’s mayor and looks certain to be replaced by fellow Independent councillor Brendan Cronin.

Gleeson will continue as an elected councillor but Cronin, subject to ratification, will act as the local council’s figurehead for the next 12 months as part of a deal that was hammered out after last year’s local elections.

The Spa man presided over many important developments in the town over the last 12 months including the opening of the redeveloped ANAM Cultural Centre, but his term as mayor was greatly interrupted as a result of pandemic-related restrictions.

“My year as mayor was dominated by matters largely outside of our direct control; a great storm put paid to the official lighting of the cathedral tree at Christmas. The real story of 2020 thus far is the terrible pandemic. That virus put paid to the Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Rathmore and Killarney and ensured that so many other projects and gatherings could not take place. Even the laudable plan to light up the town had to be abandoned due to torrential rain. I congratulate all who played such a wonderful role in limiting the Coronavirius effects, the local population; the Council staff, indoors and outdoors; the Gardaí and our health services. I congratulate all who gave so generously of time and effort. Buíochas ó chroí le gach éinne,” Mr Gleeson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I am glad to have had the privilege of being Mayor of the Municipal District but I hope that never again will that symbol of our special place have such an quiet year. My heartfelt best wishes to my successor(s) as number one citizens of Killarney Municipal District.”