10 September 1998 Edition

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SF Councillor excluded

A Sinn Féin Councillor has accused Clonakilty UDC of being ``trapped in the failed politics of the past''.

At the September meeting of his local authority Councillor Cionnaith O Súilleabháin was excluded from his rightful place on one of two new Municipal Policy Committees (MPCs) which were established.

MPCs are part of the government's reform of local government. Each council can set up two committees, with councillors and people representing voluntary and community organisations. In Clonakilty, the two new committees are Tourism, Industrial and Development, and Environment and Community Affairs.

At the Clonakilty meeting, seven councillors voted each other into the eight positions, ensuring that the Sinn Fein representative was excluded. One member, Labour's Michael O'Regan, has a dual position, being on both the new committees.

Councillor O Súilleabháin asked the chairperson, Fianna Fáil's Séamus O Brien, ``Is this fair? Here we have two committees, with four positions plus the chairperson on each. One councillor has positions on both, another who is not here (Nora Walsh, FG) has got onto one, and I have none. This goes against the spirit of what these committees were meant to be about. Every councillor should have one position each. That is why the MPCs have been structured this way. As someone who polled third highest first preference vote out of 18 candidates in the election four years ago, I am entitled to be on one of these committees''.

He has reported the incident to officials of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI) who expressed shock at the behaviour at Clonakilty UDC and it will be discussed at the Independents and Small Parties Meeting at the AMAI annual conference in Wexford next week.

O Súilleabháin told An Phoblacht, ``I can understand well what my fellow-party members have endured in unionist dominated councils in the six counties over the years, having spent the last four years as a member of an anti-Sinn Fein council in Clonakilty. Members of Clonakilty Urban Council are still trapped in the failed politics of the past of trying to censor, demonise and discriminate against Sinn Fein''.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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