Four votes each for Tullamore Town Council Cathaoirleach candidates Sinead Dooley and Brendan Killeavy meant the council's new Chair was chosen at random from a hat.
Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Killeavy was proposed as Chair by independent councillor Sean O'Brien. A seconder in the form of Tommy McKeigue meant his name was first in the hat. However a counter proposal from Fianna Fail councillors Paddy Rowland and Declan Harvey saw Sinead Dooley's name join Cllr Killeavy's. The absence of Cllr Lar Byrne led to a split vote. Town Clerk Ruth McNally explained to councillors this was the only time the Cathaoirleach did not have the casting vote, and the victor would instead be drawn by lot. The result was a success for Fianna Fail's Sinead Dooley, who took the chair for the next term.
Accepting the accolade Cllr Dooley said taking the Chair was not something she had expected. Commiserating with Cllr Killeavy she said he was a young man and a terrific worker who would have his chance in future.
Gracious in defeat, Brendan Killeavy wished Cllr Dooley the best in the role. "You said I was a hard worker Councillor; I believe you're the same," he said. Supporter Tommy McKeigue told Cllr Dooley he had no doubt but that she would carry out her duties in a dignified manner, and promised full co-operation.
Cllr Dooley said during her first term as Cathaoirleach she would be looking to others for guidance. She looked forward to the development of the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, the Arts Centre, the library project and the Grand Canal project, which would make the coming year an exciting one, and hoped she would be an "impartial and fair" chairperson.
On a personal level Cllr Dooley said she hoped she wouldn't lose contact too much with her family, but she said she knew her children would "be delighted when I go home".
To make it a double the position of Leas-Cathaoirleach was also chosen by lot, after both Brendan Killeavy and Fianna Fail's Declan Harvey received four votes. The result gave Fianna Fail a double win on the night, with Cllr Harvey given the honour of becoming Leas-Cathaoirleach for the coming year.