Tem­pers flare over Floren­tine com­plaint

SOME STAGE WALK-OUT FROM CHAM­BER

Bray People - - COUNCIL REPORT -

A FU­RI­OUS ex­change over al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing saw Mon­day’s meet­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil be­ing tem­po­rar­ily aban­doned as tem­pers flared when the mem­bers were told they couldn’t dis­cuss the mat­ter.

Chair­man of the Coun­cil, Cllr. Jimmy O’Shaugh­nessy, said he had re­ceived an e-mail on April 23, last Wed­nes­day, al­leg­ing that two coun­cil of­fi­cials and a coun­cil­lor had acted in­cor­rectly in re­spect of the Floren­tine site in Bray.

He said ‘af­ter look­ing at the com­plaint, I de­cided to send it to the Stan­dards in Pub­lic Of­fice Com­mis­sion (SIPO). I sent it by reg­is­tered post on Thurs­day and I won’t be mak­ing a fur­ther state­ment on it.

llr. Tommy Cullen ar­gued that Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy had al­ready dis­cussed the mat­ter in a lo­cal freesheet news­pa­per. He de­manded to know who the coun­cil­lor be­ing com­plained of was.

Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy tried to stop dis­cus­sions but Cllr. Cullen coun­tered ‘we are en­ti­tled to raise ques­tions’. Cllr. Chris Fox said Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy had dealt cor­rectly by re­fer­ring the mat­ter to SIPO and said ‘we can’t dis­cuss this in the in­ter­est in nat­u­ral jus­tice’.

Cllr. Cullen then de­manded that the two of­fi­cials men­tioned in the com­plaint ‘step aside vol­un­tar­ily with im­me­di­ate ef­fect’ in re­spect of all plan­ning and zon­ing is­sues within the county.

Cllr. John Brady said he un­der- stood the coun­cil had been put on no­tice of the com­plaint on April 2.

Cllr. John Byrne, in sup­port of Cllr. Fox, said SIPO had been set up specif­i­cally to deal with such com­plaints and added ‘we can’t solve this. There is a body there to deal with it, and they have far greater pow­ers’.

Cllr. Irene Win­ters agreed that the con­tent of the al­le­ga­tions couldn’t be dis­cussed but said that in the lo­cal freesheet, Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy was quoted as say­ing he had been given mis­in­for­ma­tion by coun­cil staff. She won­dered how that could have hap­pened.

Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy said he had re­ceived a for­mal com­plaint on April 23, af­ter he, Bray Town Coun­cil, and the ethics of­fi­cer of Wick­low County Coun­cil had been put on no­tice in early April that a com­plaint was be­ing sent.

Cllr. Barry Nevin pressed Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy on the date that coun­cil be­came aware of the com­plaint, not­ing that a defama­tion ac­tion he had been in­volved in was started on April 7.

Cllr. Pat Vance said ‘ let’s move on’ and Cllr. Tom For­tune said ‘we, as pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives, are du­ty­bound to ask ques­tions’.

Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy said he had ‘done each and ev­ery one of you a favour by send­ing this to SIPO’.

Di­rec­tor of Ser­vices Joe Lane then at­tempted to move onto the next’ item on the agenda, the es­tab­lish­ment of Lo­cal Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tees, but some mem­bers con­tin­ued to an­grily de­bate the mat­ter with Cllr. Brady say­ing ‘you can’t sweep this un­der the car­pet’ while Cllr. Cullen got on his feet, say­ing ‘ this is an ou­trage. I’m not go­ing to sit here if mem­bers aren’t al­lowed to speak.’

Cllr. John Snell and Cllr. Brady also got on their feet, as did act­ing county man­ager Bryan Doyle and Cllr. O’Shaugh­nessy. Some mem­bers and of­fi­cials then left the cham­ber, leav­ing the re­main­ing mem­bers won­der­ing if the meet­ing had been aban­doned or sim­ply ad­journed.

Ten min­utes later, the meet­ing re­sumed with the next item on the agenda.

The Floren­tine site in Bray.

County Coun­cil Chair­man Jimmy O’Shaugh­nessy.

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