MITCHELSTOWN COMMUNITY COUNCIL HITS OUT AT AVONDHU REPORT ON A.G.M.
Mitchelstown Community Council chairman, Sean Finn has this week rejected the claims made by Mr Batt Power at the recent AGM that the community council’s tax affairs are not in order.
In a letter to The Avondhu, which also hits out at this newspaper’s coverage of the meeting, Mr Finn stated that the allegations were not only incorrect, but Mr Power has very serious questions to answer in connection with the letter he produced at the recent annual general meeting (AGM).
Mr Finn stated in the letter, ‘I refer to your article headed ‘Allegations of tax irregularities strongly refuted at Community Council Ltd AGM’ and I wish to make the following points:
1. Mr Power is incorrect in what he stated in the article. Mitchelstown Community Council was formed in 2007 and not in 2009 as indicated. The purpose of the company was to take ownership of the grounds on which the playground is built and continue to hold the property for the people of Mitchelstown.
Again Mr Power is incorrect when he states that it is an ordinary company. It is in fact a company limited by guarantee and has been able to avail of charitable status because of its relationship with Muintir na Tire.
2. The community council tax affairs are in order. There is no tax due and that is a fact.
3. It is interesting to note that the letter received from the Revenue Commissioners, which is dated March 3rd, 2011 should only have come to light over six weeks later at the AGM of Mitchelstown Community Council Limited. It is clear that the letter should have been sent to the registered office of the company. The company’s registered office was changed in September 2009.
It would appear that the Revenue Commissioners have not updated their database and the letter went to another address, to the old registered office, which was Mulberry House, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.
The following questions come to mind:
(i) Why was a letter addressed to secretary of Mitchelstown Community Council Limited opened by someone other than the secretary of the company?
(ii) Why did the person who received the letter not forward it to the secretary of Mitchelstown Community Council Limited at an earlier time or at all?
(iii) Was Mr Batt Power the recipient of the letter in the first place? If not, why was a letter addressed to the secretary of Mitchelstown Community Ltd given to him?
(iv) When was Mr Batt Power given the letter and why did he not give the letter to the secretary of Mitchelstown Community Council Ltd particularly if he was of the view that the law was being broken?
The letter that was handed in at the AGM had part of the address blacked out - why was the address blacked out?
4. That brings me to the handling of this issue by The Avondhu. Once again, as has happened in the recent past, The Avondhu seems intent on sensationalising a non event. There are no tax irregularities within the Mitchelstown Community Council Ltd. It is disingenuous of The Avondhu to use the heading that it did.
The Avondhu should have given the opportunity of having the matters investigated by the Community Council Ltd and a right of reply before the article printed in The Avondhu was published.
I feel that The Avondhu once again has done a disservice to the hard working volunteers who make up Mitchelstown Community Council Ltd and who have put in a lot of hard work and effort in the last couple of years to tidy up the problems that did exist in the community council in Mitchelstown in the previous years.
The fact that the president of Muintir na Tire was present addressing the AGM recently shows that the Governing Body of Community Councils in Ireland are happy that Mitchelstown Community Council is working well and correctly.
It is time for The Avondhu to act professionally and more even-handedly’ - Sean Finn, Chairman Mitchelstown Community Council Ltd.
In an effort to respond to Mr Finn and Mitchelstown Community Council Ltd., The Avondhu e-mailed a list of questions to Mr Batt Power and is awaiting a response.
However, the paper did not receive a reply before this issue went to press.
It is the contention of The Avondhu that the report carried on the AGM of Mitchelstown Community Council was done in an even-handed and fair manner.
We were, after all, only reporting on what occurred at the meeting and accusations of a disingenuous heading are, we believe, well wide of the mark.
It is not now or ever has been our intention to sensationalise events pertaining to Mitchelstown Community Council. We did not at any stage suggest that there were tax irregularities relating to Mitchelstown Community Council, but merely reported on an issue that was raised at a meeting which was open to the public.
It is also, of course, fair to say that this newspaper carried the response from the chairman of the community council in last week’s story.
The Avondhu has, on a continuous basis, published positive news stories relating to the good work carried out by Mitchelstown Community Council and we will be happy to continue this policy in the future.
Friday 6th May 10:36am