MINISTER Hogan's decision to abolish town councils has effectively been ' validated' by a meeting of Listowel's urban authority on Monday at which councillors spent most of the time arguing over a proposal to hold their next meeting outside of the council chamber.
Argument flared over a proposal by Mayor Tom Barry to relocate the February meeting to the Listowel Family Resource Centre. The Mayor believes such a move would open up the business of the council to more people.
However, two of Fine Gael's longest serving town councillors, Denis Stack and Tim O'Leary, were vehemently opposed to the move saying there was no precedent for it.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Jimmy Moloney said the length of time spent debating a change of venue only served to 'validate' Minister Hogan's decision to axe urban authorities. Meanwhile, little argument was sparked by a proposal to postpone the February meeting by a week as it was set to clash with the annual coursing meeting in Clonmel, Cllr Moloney pointed out.
Cllr O'Leary - who is also on the board of the resource centre said the council had never in its long history met outside the chamber. "Even though our days are numbered I think it is important that we would continue to work within the apparatus of local government to promote the council, rather than taking it outside.
"We once held a meeting on the town development plan but that was in the Seanchaí, as we were meeting a lot of groups and the chamber wasn't big enough. In any event it wasn't an official meeting," Cllr O'Leary said.
'A thing of nothing' is how Cllr Moloney has described the subject of the debate. "I think it was a good idea from the Mayor as it would democratise the whole process even further and give more people, including students, the chance to see the council in action.
"The argument was really a thing of nothing and anyone backing Minister Hogan's proposal to get rid of town councils will be feeling even more strongly on the matter after it," Cllr Moloney said.