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East Renfrewshire Council deputy leader Paul O'Kane quits role after being elected as an MSP
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TOPIC: East Renfrewshire Council deputy leader Paul O'Kane quits role after being elected as an MSP

East Renfrewshire Council deputy leader Paul O'Kane quits role after being elected as an MSP 1 year ago #1

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9/6/2021
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East Renfrewshire Council deputy leader Paul O'Kane quits role after being elected as an MSP

By William Brown Reporter

The deputy leader of East Renfrewshire Council is stepping down from the role after being elected to Holyrood – and plans to donate his salary to local groups.

Paul O’Kane will also quit as leader of the council’s Labour group and as education convener.

He intends to carry on serving his constituents in the Newton Mearns North and Neilston ward until the local authority election next May.

The new MSP, who represents the West Scotland region, will receive a basic salary of £18,604 per year while continuing as an East Renfrewshire councillor.

However, he wants to use that money to give “a boost” to local community groups and is currently deciding who to support.

“My intention is to try and get to the groups that don’t always qualify for the significant funds,” said Councillor O’Kane.

The education committee meeting tomorrow will be Councillor O’Kane’s last as chairman.

A replacement for that role, and a new deputy leader, will be confirmed at a full council meeting on June 30.

“I think it’s important those roles have someone who can dedicate their full time to that,” Councillor O’Kane said, adding that the education team needed someone who could provide “stability and support.”

The Labour group is in the process of electing a new leader, who is also expected to be nominated for the council’s deputy leader role.

Councillor Colm Merrick, the education committee’s vice-chair, will cover until a new chair is in place.

Councillor O’Kane said it has been a “huge honour” to hold the two roles, providing “a stable administration and pushing forward with our shared agenda.”

In his time in the education position, he has presided over the opening of the new Barrhead High School and the joint Catholic-Jewish campus in Newton Mearns for St Clare’s Primary and Calderwood Lodge Primary.

He has also worked on £30million plans for a new school campus in Neilston that will join Neilston Primary and St Thomas’ Primary on one site.
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