Thursday 23 February 2017

Councillors vote against debating crisis

MONDAY'S meeting of Sligo County Council had to be adjourned for a time amid uproar when a discussion on the financial crisis was proposed.

Independent Councillor Declan Bree wanted to suspend standing orders to discuss the outcome of the recent meeting with Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Phil Hogan.

The row erupted after the Cathaoirleach, Councillor Michael Fleming, read a statement in relation to the meeting with the Minister.

County Manager, Mr. Hubert Kearns, meanwhile, dismissed a claim by Fianna Fail Councillor Jude Devins that the Minister had told the deputation that the budget it recently adopted was illegal. He said he could not agree with this assessment.

The motion to suspend standing orders was seconded by Councillor Sean Macmanus who said that if Councillors voted against this proposal it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

"I don't think we should be muzzling people. The Minister made it quite clear the possibility of this Council being abolished," Clr. Macmanus said.

After the comments by the County Manager, Councillor Bree maintained his right to speak and as he continued to read from a prepared statement in which he said he told the Minister that the Council's budgets were "absured and unattainable", and as other Councillors got to their feet, the Cathaoirleach adjourned the meeting for ten minutes.

Clr. Bree said it was the most serious issue facing the Council for decades, if not since it was founded.

Councillors then voted by eleven to seven against allowing debate on the crisis take pla.ce Those for: Bree, Devins, Gormley, Lundy, Macmanus, Mcgarry, Queenan. Against: Barrett, Cawley, Fleming, Keaney, Leonard, Lyons, Mcgrath, Mcloughlin, Mullaney, Mulvey, Murray. Cllrs Veronica Cawley and Rosaleen O'grady both abstained.

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