Angry scenes as council meets to discuss inquest into firemen's deaths
There were angry scenes in County Buildings on Friday as a special County Council meeting that had been due to discuss issues raised at the inquests into the deaths of Bray firemen Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy was adjourned.
Council Chairman, Jimmy O'Shaughnessy, informed members at the outset that a letter raising legal and procedural issues had been received from Luan O'Braonain, Senior Counsel for the County Council. Points raised in the letter referred specifically to the circumstances surrounding the decision on Thursday March 6 to adjourn the remainder inquest proceedings until May 1, and some reports in the national press that were said to have 'notable omissions of relevant facts'.
Cllr O'Shaughnessy called a short adjournment of ten minutes to allow members to consider the legal advice, and when proceedings resumed, some members became angry.
Cllr John Brady said he was 'flabbergasted' by the chairman's view, while Cllr Tommy Cullen accused him of 'acting outside his authority' and of 'trying to frustrate debate'.
Cllr Barry Nevin wondered why County Manager Eddie Sheehy wasn't at the meeting but then answered his own question by saying 'he's on a junket for St Patrick's Day'.
Cllr O'Shaughnessy replied that he wasn't 'trying to muzzle' anybody, but said he didn't want to proceed with anything that might not be legal.
Cllr. Pat Vance said if Cllr. O'Shaughnessy was proposing to adjourn the meeting until after the coroner's inquest was complete, he would second that proposal.
The meeting was once again adjourned for a short period and on its resumption Cllr. O'Shaughnessy proposed adjourning the meeting until May. He promised 'it will take place before the local elections'. He also said he would be seeking his own independent legal advice on the matter within the coming days.
Cllr. Brady pointed out that members of both the Murray and O'Shaughnessy family were in the council chamber and said 'I'm embarrassed. Here we are farting about, trying to scupper debate.'
A vote of the members was then held with eleven councillors (Blake, Burke, Casey, Doran, Fitzgerald, Glynn, McLoughlin, Mitchell, O'Shaughnessy, Vance and Winter) voting in favour of adjourning the meeting.
Cllrs. Brady, Cullen, Fortune, Kelly, Nevin and Snell voted against the adjournment, and there were seven members of the council not present.