COUNCILLORS GET DOWN AND DIRTY AS SPARKS FLY OVER APOLOGY 'NO SHOW'
The war of words between local Cork county councillors, Frank O’Flynn and Liam O’Doherty raged on this week as Fianna Fail’s Cllr O’Flynn called on his Fine Gael counterpart to ‘apologise to the readers of The Avondhu for misleading them’.
The latest development in the dispute between the pair follows a call on Cllr O’Flynn to apologise for the language he used in addressing Cllr O’Doherty following a recent council meeting.
At the time Cllr O’Doherty had said that Cllr O’Flynn had misled the public over an announced visit to Scoil Bhride National School in Rathcormac by Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe, sparking a reply from Cllr O’Flynn which was criticised for its ‘unparliamentarily language.’
While Cllr O’Flynn was due to make his apology at the beginning of a full sitting of Cork County Council this week, Cllr O’Doherty said he was late for the meeting due to a prior engagement that concerned Mitchelstown’s future economic development, which he felt ‘is more important than running after an apology.’
“The Avondhu carried a story that he asked for me to apologise at the next full meeting of the council. We had a full meeting this week at which I was willing to make the apology he had asked for and he didn’t show for the reading of the minutes, even though he was in county hall. I am calling on him to clarify his position as I believe that it is he who is misleading the public,” Cllr O’Flynn insisted.
“Why is he running off making statements to the local paper about how he wants Frank O’Flynn to apologise only to not show when he had his opportunity? I would be asking what he’s up to because I believe it is a political gimmick,” he added.
Cllr O’Flynn also took issue with his fellow councillor’s claim that the outburst for which Cllr O’Doherty sought an apology took place during the meeting, and says that the minutes show that it occurred after the session.
“I want to know what sinister motive had he in running to the papers saying he’d do something when he wouldn’t. It is typical of Councillor O’Doherty to go running with the hare and chasing with the hound. He called for an apology and then didn’t show and claimed what I said happened during the meeting when the minutes show it didn’t. I think he should apologise to the readers of The Avondhu for misleading them,” Cllr O’Flynn said.
Cllr Liam O’Doherty hit back, however, and said that the engagement that caused him to miss the start of the council meeting was too important to leave early for the sake of an apology from Cllr O’Flynn.
“I was at a meeting that commenced at 10am with the Director of Services, the chairman of the Mitchelstown Forum, the CEO of Ballyhoura Development, Mitchelstown’s business development manager Paul Swift and the director of services in Enterprise Sean O’Riordan. We were outlining the future for Mitchelstown for the next three years.
"Mitchelstown is now included as priority category in the County Development Plan, which is a very positive step for the town. It was a meeting on what effect the latest developments will have and I considered it a lot more important than running after Cllr O’Flynn for an apology. The meeting started at 10 and was supposed to take an hour but ran a little over time, but it concerned the future of Mitchelstown which I consider more important,” Cllr O’Doherty explained.
“He did the misleading and the minutes of next week’s meeting of the Northern committee will make it very very clear that during that meeting he promised a visit from the Minister for Education at a specific time that did not happen.
"It is great that he did visit in the meantime but Cllr O’Flynn made a statement at the Northern committee that was misleading. As for not making this week’s meeting in time for his apology, I have always stated that my priority all the time is Mitchelstown,” he added.
Cllr O’Flynn said that he was unable to attend Minister O’Keeffe’s eventual visit to the school in question this week due to a council commitment but welcomed the visit by his party colleague.
“The minister has since honoured the commitment he gave to me by visiting Rathcormac school on Monday. I believe the building of a new school there is important. I have met with the board of management there after the visit and they brought me up to date on their presentation to the minister.
I will continue to support the putting in place of a much needed new 12-classroom school in Rathcormac and I welcome the fact that he did visit and he honoured the promise he gave to visit and meet the parents and board of management. He also gave the commitment to me at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis where local delegate Daniel Lane spoke on the issue,” Cllr O’Flynn added.
Thursday 12th March 5:29pm