ANGER IN PUBLIC GALLERY AT THE BRAY MUNICIPAL DISTRICT MEETING
THERE was anger from the public gallery at last week’s district meeting when an attempt to suspend standing orders to discuss a homeless protest was unsuccessful.
Cllr Michael O’Connor asked for a suspension of standing orders to discuss the matter of two homeless men who continue to sleep in tents outside the offices of Bray Municipal District.
They have been there nightly since mid-May.
‘ This is a matter of some urgency,’ said Cllr O’Connor. ‘It’s been going on for way too long. I tried to bring this up at Wicklow County Council and with the Housing SPC. It should be discussed here, it’s a Bray matter.’
Cathaoirleach Steven Matthews asked Cllr O’Connor if he had sought to put the item on the agenda. ‘A suspension of standing orders is usually for an emergency situation which has occurred with no time to put it on the agenda.’
Cllr O’Connor said that there wasn’t time after not getting anywhere with Wicklow County Council.
‘It is a serious issue and I’m not disagreeing with you. The forum to deal with theis is Wicklow and the Wicklow SPC.’ He said that his understanding is that the Director of Housing and the Simon Community officer are engaged in the matter and it’s a centralised function. ‘I don’t think it’s going to help the cause and don’t think it will do any good.’
‘Discuss the issue,’ called out members of the public gallery. ‘Please. It’s in the second month now. It hasn’t been dealt with.’
‘I have no problem putting items on the agenda if people put them in on time. I prefer suspensions be kept for ab- solute emergencies that may arise between Thursday and Tuesday,’ said Cllr Matthews.
‘Yous have a home to go to and yous don’t care,’ called out a woman from the gallery some time later. ‘I’m going back with Tommy.’
A man approached the table and asked if he could have a minute to address the chamber.
Cllr Matthews informed him that while members of the public are very welcome, they are not permitted to address the chamber as per standing orders. ‘Is that true?’ asked the man, and a number of councillors nodded to confirm that was the case.
‘I will just make one point. There are a number of houses lying empty around the Bray area and if you don’t fix them, people will just enter them.’
The two men are former residents of the shelter on Brighton Terrace which has closed down.
The site where two men are sleeping in tents to protest against homelessness.