Councillors 'snubbed' at their own VIP events

Cormac Murphy

DUBLIN councillors have complained at being snubbed at official receptions -- even though City Hall are often paying for the events.

The civic reception for Aung San Suu Kyi was one of a series of recent public occasions at which councillors were not sufficiently involved, they believe.

The Burmese pro-democracy leader was honoured by the city in June at a packed Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin 2.


Fine Gael's Ruairi McGinley told the Herald that councillors were not involved in the ceremony, even though the city council was paying for it.

The local authority splashed out €23,000 on the reception, which saw Ms Suu Kyi formally receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin, he said.

Complaints have also been raised about the welcome home party for the Irish Olympic team and the Tall Ships reception.

Mannix Flynn (above) is so annoyed he tabled a motion expressing his disappointment at the "disrespect and disregard" he and his colleagues feel.

The Dublin South East Area councillor said he was refused entry into the Mansion House for the Tall Ships event.

He described as "chaotic" the reception for Ms Suu Kyi, where councillors were told to stand behind barriers.

However, Amnesty International Ireland, which organised the reception in conjunction with City Hall, said a place in front of the stage was reserved for councillors and members of the Burmese community.

The politicians were required to sign in, but then they got access to that reserved zone, a spokesman told the Herald.

He pointed out that both ex- Lord Mayor Andrew Montague and Cllr Mary Freehill were on stage during the ceremony.

But Cllr McGinley said the arrangements made for councillors were "unsatisfactory" as they were subject to the same security checks as everyone else.

"We would have had our robes on ... There was no special (entry) arrangements made for councillors. It was unsatisfactory and councillors generally were not happy," he said.

Another councillor, who did not want to be named, said the issue has been a talking point.

"I think really it's more about the position and the role of the Lord Mayor and the elected representatives ... where they fit in the protocol," they added.


Similar complaints were made during the queen's visit last year when councillors complained they were not invited in sufficient numbers.

At the Aung San Suu Kyi reception in June, then Lord Mayor Andrew Montague said: "You have inspired us with your courage, moved us with your sacrifice, and you have touched us with your kindness."