NEW TOWN COUNCILLORS SHOCKED AT MEETING PROCEEDINGS
Both of Fianna Fail’s newly elected representatives on Fermoy Town Council have expressed their shock at the heated exchanges that took place at this week’s meeting of the local authority.
Both Cllr Olive Corcoran and Cllr Colette Dolan-More articulated their unhappiness at the manner in which the council debates were carried out during a discussion on the appropriate use of conference expenses.
Cllr Corcoran had a motion on the agenda referring to ‘non statutory payments’ to councillors. While Cllr Corcoran explained that her motion referred to expenses to councillors for what she described as ‘unnecessary conferences’, Labour Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan and independent Cllr John Murphy argued that all payments to councillors, whether through salary or expenses, were statutory and as such any discussion of conference expenses fell outside the remit of the wording of the motion.
“I want to stop any false perception, our expenses are audited internally and externally,” Cllr O’Donovan said, and Fine Gael Cllr Aileen Pyne said that all claims were made ‘100% correctly.’
Cllr Dolan-Moore said that she agreed with Cllr Corcoran that many of the expenses incurred by councillors were unnecessary.
Independent Cllr Michael Hanley took issue with the implication that questioning council expenses was a suggestion of deceit on the part of those claiming the funds and said that ‘junketeering’ was well documented throughout the ranks of Irish politics.
“God help those being thrown out of their jobs left, right and centre,” he said, adding that the severity of the current recession in Ireland was not helped by the ‘serious failure’ of the political system to set an example.
Cllr Hanley said that the majority of claims for conferences were not justified in terms of their direct value to the town of Fermoy.
“It is shocking that there are some who are seeking to justify this continued expenditure,” Cllr Hanley added, and said that any expense to a councillor should be incurred in his or her council salary.
“There was never any accusation of dishonesty here,” he said. Cllr Hanley and Cllr O’Donovan then debated the current expenditure fund as voted in last December, which, Cllr O’Donovan said, was still available to all nine councillors.
“What has come out here tonight literally shocks me,” Cllr Corcoran said, while Cllr Dolan-Moore said that some of the exchanges witnessed were ‘beyond a joke.’
Thursday 23rd July 6:58pm