TOWN COUNCILLOR STANDS OVER CRITICISM OF OFFICIALS
“Hell will freeze over before I retract one word” was the reaction of Cllr Olive Corcoran to demands by Cork County Council officials to withdraw comments she made on local radio and to The Avondhu in recent weeks.
The Fermoy town councillor first made her remarks on C103 when she stated “Council officials should have been available to the people of Fermoy at the very time that they were needed.”
Cllr Corcoran was referring to the recent bad flooding in the town where she claims that at the height of the flood warning and bad weather, the town hall was closed and ‘in darkness’ and that nobody was available to take calls from people who needed help.
NO LIGHT ON
“I passed the town hall at 4.40pm on the afternoon in question and there wasn’t a light on, this isn’t good enough. The people of Fermoy need to know that their council officials are there to help. I think shutting up shop just when the people needed support and help sent out the wrong message,” Cllr Corcoran told The Avondhu.
Reacting to the councillor’s comments, council employee, Tomas O Briain, in a letter to The Avondhu, called on Cllr Corcoran to withdraw her remarks.
“Failure to do so will create a permanent breach of trust, and will permanently damage the relationship of co-operation and mutual respect that has existed between council staff and elected representatives for many years,” Mr O Briain stated in his letter.
He also outlined his position in regards to council employees answering calls from the public.
“Outside office hours, I and other council employees answered calls from the public whenever we were contacted. Over the Christmas period I received several calls on my work mobile and I responded to them.
“These additional hours of duty were unpaid. On many other occasions, of which Cllr Corcoran is personally aware council staff have made themselves available, without remuneration or time off in compensation, in order that she and other councillors could have meetings etc. The general public have also been facilitated in the same manner,” Mr O Briain said.
HELL WILL FREEZE OVER
“Hell will freeze over – Mr O Briain before I retract one word of what is the truth and I have only started to tell it. Let me state very simply that the inhabitants of Fermoy are not happy that the responsibilities and services of local government that are being delivered and no amount of criticism will prevent me from doing the job I was elected to do.
It is a sad state of affairs if one cannot freely highlight the concerns of the people of Fermoy without, and I quote Mr O Briain, ‘Permanently damaging the relationship between council staff and the elected representatives’ I have to wonder if this is the official thinking of the town council, or merely the personal view of this revenue collector?” Cllr Corcoran said in conversation with The Avondhu.
Cllr Corcoran also took into account Mr O Briain’s comments that he answered and responded to many calls over the Christmas period.
“I fail to understand how people with burst pipes would contact a revenue collector? Was there no emergency number for a plumber or an engineer? The plain facts are that when people tried to contact the town council there was no answer and this was the situation on the evening of the expected flood.
“I will say it again, when I passed the town hall it was in complete darkness. I looked at my watch and it was 4.40pm. I stopped and knocked on the door. There was nobody there. I couldn’t believe it on the day when the people of the town needed the town hall to be open, phones to be answered by people who could make a difference, by those who are well paid to do their jobs - There was nobody there,” Cllr Corcoran concluded.
Friday 19th February 9:57am