Saturday 17 November 2018

FF council members are worst attenders

FIANNA Fail councillors have the lowest attendance record of the main parties at meetings of Dublin City Council.

New figures show that councillors from the main Government party were less likely to attend council meetings than their political counterparts.

Fianna Fail members were absent from meetings 29 times in the past two years. One Fine Gael councillor - Niamh Cosgrave - only attended half the meetings, having missed 17 of 33.

Failed to show

Overall, Fianna Fail members attended 93pc of all meetings. Labour and Sinn Fein had a 95pc rate. Fine Gael came tops with councillors present at 96pc of engagements.

Independents, the Green Party and the PDs attended just 83pc of meetings. The figures apply to scheduled full chamber meetings.

Despite Fine Gael's good attendance, Cllr Cosgrave failed to show up at 17 meetings, many of which were scheduled prior to her losing the party whip for a lack of attendance.

She had previously been described by a colleague as "the only councillor notable by her absence".

Councillors frustrated at her failure to take an active role in local politics ousted her from the party after she failed to attend a mandatory meeting at which colleague Catherine Byrne was elected Dublin Lord Mayor. Cllr Cosgrave represents Donaghmede in north Dublin and was re-elected in 2002. The meetings were missed between 2004 and 2006, prior to her dismissal.

She could not be reached for comment last night on the findings.

After Cllr Cosgrave, the worst attendance record is shared by Fianna Fail's Mary Fitzpatrick and Community's Vincent Jackson, both of whom missed six meetings since July 2004.

Representatives of Fine Gael missed a total of 11 meetings, compared with 21 absenteeisms by Labour councillors, 18 by Sinn Fein and 33 by independents and other smaller groups, including the PDs.

Although the Government party has the lowest attendance record, FF Cllr Deirdre Heney defended its record in the chamber.

"Anything above 90pc is good and in my experience at Dublin City Council you get very high attendance across the board," the councillor, who has a 100pc attendance record, said.

"There has to be a bit of leeway given to people who cannot attend for whatever reason. The very real business is done at local meetings, the issues that are very serious to constituents we work out at local level."

Just 16 councillors - four from Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein, five Labour and three Fine Gael - have 100pc records.

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