Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Collins has been elected Mayor of Limerick City and County.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the council held at Limerick Racecourse this afternoon so it could comply with Covid-19 guidelines and social distancing restrictions.

Mr Collins' Fianna Fáil colleague, Councillor Azad Talukdar, who was the first Muslim to be elected to Limerick City and County Council in last year's local elections, was chosen as deputy mayor.

Councillor Collins was elected by 31 votes to eight.

He defeated Green Party Cllr Seán Hartigan, securing the support of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who honoured a pact for the chair of the council, as well as the support of a number of Independent councillors.

Cllr Hartigan won the support of his Green colleagues, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin.

Cllr Collins, who also ran on the Fianna Fáil ticket in the Limerick constituency in this year's General Election, said it was one of the proudest moments of his political career and a huge honour to be elected first citizen.

He said it was something he had dreamed of since he was first elected in 2004.

Members of his family, including his mother, who is 90, were there to support him.

Cllr Collins said he wanted to work with businesses and communities who are experiencing difficulty due to Covid-19.

He also called for a reduction in the VAT rate for the hospitality sector, and increased supports for Shannon Airport.

Cllr Talukdar secured 31 votes to be elected deputy mayor, defeating Labour Councillor Conor Sheehan.

It could well be the last mayoral election of its kind in Limerick, where councillors alone vote.

Plans for a directly elected Mayor of LImerick are due to go ahead next year and are contained in the new Programme for Government.

Councillor Michael Collins, the new Mayor of Limerick