24 June 1999 Edition
Sinn Féin chairs in Monaghan and Castleblayney
Sinn Féin councillors have been elected to the chairs of Monaghan Urban District Council and Castleblayney Urban District Council.
Councillor Owen Smyth is the new chair of Monaghan Urban District Council. Smyth is the leader of the largest group on the council, the group of four Sinn Féin councillors, including Pádraigín Uí Mhurchadha, Gerry Loughran and Seán Conlon. The make-up of the Council is four Sinn Féin, three Fianna Fáil, one Fine Gael, and one independent.
Councillor Jackie Crowe has been elected chairperson of Castleblayney UDC. The make-up of that Council is three Fianna Fáil, four independents, and two Sinn Féin. Councillor Crowe is also a member of Monaghan County Council.
Commenting on the election of his colleagues, Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin said:
``I congratulate Councillors Owen Smyth and Jackie Crowe for their well-deserved election to the chairs of local authorities which they have served with distinction. The days of exclusion of Sinn Féin are well and truly over. For too long, the dominant political parties in this county refused to embrace inclusivity. The strength of Sinn Féin, confirmed by the excellent election results of 11 June, have ensured that all elected opinion must be treated in a fair and equitable manner. I look forward to working with the new chairpersons, and all my elected colleagues in Counties Monaghan and Cavan, to give the people of these counties the most effective local representation.''
Bruton rules out `pacts' with Sinn Féin on councils
Fine Gael leader John Bruton put in his tuppenny halfpenny's worth towards resolving the difficulty over securing the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement with an announcement that he had instructed his party members on councils not to entertain pacts with Sinn Féin ``until the `decommissioning impasse' is resolved''.
Too late, too late, the Walrus cried, and shed a bitter tear... as in many areas, Sinn Féin candidates were approached, even before the count was finalised, to know their views on voting for positions.
Dublin Councillor Seán Crowe points out that Sinn Féin were not very interested in pacts with any party, leave alone Fine Gael, and our councillors had been elected precisely because they were justly critical of councillors from such parties as Fine Gael, who had let the people down over the years.
Councillor Joe Reilly, from Meath, adds that a good councillor should always remember the centre of power, which is the people: ``Power lies on the street, with the people in our areas, not in cosy cartels in the council chambers, with councillors scrabbling for petty positions, passing the parcel of council jobs between them to the neglect of the people we are elected to represent.''