Council saved from collapse after politician fails to show up
A county council was saved from collapse last night after a Fianna Fail politician failed to show up for its budget vote.
Ireland's oldest mayor used his casting vote to pull Donegal County Council back from the brink amid chaotic scenes.
The absence of Councillor Rena Donaghey left a Fine Gael/Labour coalition and Independents with 14 votes and Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail with a combined 14 votes.
Ms Donaghey explained her absence saying she had teaching commitments with the county's education board.
Councillor Ian McGarvey (82) used his casting vote to pass the budget proposals shortly before 9pm. The council had until midnight to pass the budget or it would be dissolved.
Independent councillor John Campbell switched his vote at the last minute to tie the vote after winning major concessions, including cuts to councillors' expenses.
Councillor Ciaran Brogan, the FF leader on the council, accused Mr Campbell at the meeting of "switching his allegiance for 30 pieces of silver".
However, Mr Campbell rejected that claim, adding: "This could have been sorted weeks ago. My proposals haven't changed. They were not accepted until the last minute."
Some councillors wanted to use the budget vote as a protest against the power being given to the new Irish Water company.
Donegal County Council is due to transfer €350m of assets to the company in a move that has infuriated some politicians.