COUNCILLORS ATTEMPT TO GAG PRESS
Pencils sharpened, note books at the ready and packets of mints close at hand, the press corp assembled in good time for last Tuesday evening’s meeting to discuss the Fermoy Development Plan, writes John Ahern.
Without a hint of warning and before a word could be scribbled independent councillor, Michael Hanley, sought that both members of the press and the few hardy souls who made up the public gallery leave, so the meeting could be held in private.
In the absence of laughter, assembled scribes quickly realised the outspoken councillor was deadly serious and, deeming the development plan to ‘be confidential in nature,’ he sought support to eject the media.
Incredibly, his proposal to close the blinds and seal the doors was seconded by Mayor Noel McCarthy.
In a depressing return to the bad old days of Fermoy Town Council, Cllr Hanley exercised his right to call for a vote on the matter. Those who didn’t want the press or the public in the room and voted in favour of asking them to leave were: Cllr Michael Hanley (Independent), Cllr Noel McCarthy (Labour) and Cllr Patrick O’Driscoll (Fine Gael).
Mercifully, sanity prevailed and the remaining six councillors, Seamus Coleman (Sinn Fein), Tadhg O’Donovan (Labour), Colette Dolan-Moore (Independent), Olive Corcoran (Independent), Aileen Pyne (Fine Gael) and John Murphy (Independent) knocked the proposal on the head.
Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan said attempts to remove the media was ‘an affront to democracy and to the voters of Fermoy’. Subject to correction there wasn’t one phrase in the hefty tome that could be remotely described as ‘confidential in nature’.
Thursday 12th November 6:38pm