Fianna Fáil's Michael Mulcahy has this evening been elected Lord Mayor of Dublin. Eric Byrne of Labour is to be Deputy Lord Mayor. In Cork, Tom O'Driscoll also of Fianna Fáil is the new Lord Mayor, while Donal Lyons of the PDs has been elected Mayor of Galway and Dick Sadlier of Fianna Fáil is the new Mayor of Limerick.

Fianna Fáil and Labour, who between them hold 34 of Dublin Corporation's 52 seats, operate a pact to share the position of Lord Mayor, so this evening's election was something of a formality. This year, it is Fianna Fáil's turn to occupy the Mansion House, and the party's candidate, Michael Mulcahy was elected Lord Mayor this evening. A 41-year-old barrister, Mr Mulcahy has been a member of Dublin Corporation since 1985. He served as a Senator from 1994 to 1997, and has been an unsuccessful Dáil candidate in Dublin South-Central on four occasions. Dublin's new deputy Lord Mayor is Eric Byrne of Labour, ironically a constituency rival of Michael Mulcahy in Dublin South Central.

Tom O'Driscoll has been elected Cork City's 64th Lord Mayor. The 40-year-old communications lecturer was elected as part of a Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Labour pact at a sitting of Cork Corporation tonight. The newly elected Lord Mayor said that improving the city's infrastructure and increased funding for the voluntary sector, would be among his priorities for the coming year. The Minister for Health Mícheal Martin's brother, Seán, was elected deputy Lord Mayor.

In Galway the Progressive Democrats Councillor Donal Lyons was elected Mayor as a result of a PD/ Fianna Fáil pact. A regional sales and customer services manager with An Post, Councillor Lyons was first co-opted to the Corporation in 1996. He has been a leading member of the Progressive Democrats in Galway since 1986. His priorities include the provision of better social and community facilities; a new city museum and art gallery and the building of much needed by-pass roads to ease traffic congestion problems.

While in Limerick Fianna Fáil councillor Dick Sadlier has been elected mayor. He defeated Fine Gael councillor Michael Hourigan by ten votes to five. The 50-year-old lecturer in finance and law at the Limerick Institute of Technology was mayor on one previous occasion in 1994 -95 when he was a member of the Progressive Democrats. He was first elected to the city council in 1991.

This may be one of the last occasions on which mayors are elected by their fellow councillors. The Local Government Bill, now before the Dáil, provides for the direct elections for mayors. The new system is likely to be brought in at the same time as the next local elections, in 2004.