Community coun­cil­lors feel snubbed

Politi­cians ne­glect­ing pow wows

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Mur­ray Spooner

Ruther­glen MP Mar­garet Fer­rier and MSP Clare Haughey have been ac­cused of snub­bing a community coun­cil.

Half­way Community Coun­cil have be­come in­creas­ingly frus­trated at the lack of at­ten­dance from both SNP politi­cians at their monthly meet­ings since they were voted in.

Mem­bers told the Re­former Ms Fer­rier, who was elected as MP for Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West in 2015 and is a for­mer chair of the group, had failed to turn up to any reg­u­lar meet­ings since she was elected.

Ms Haughey be­came MSP for the con­stituency in May 2016 but is claimed to have not at­tended any meet­ings and has sent a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in her place over pre­vi­ous months.

At a Half­way Community Coun­cil meet­ing on Jan­uary 18, mem­bers voiced their con­cerns about not only their meet­ings be­ing ig­nored by the SNP politi­cians, but past MSPs and MPs over the years.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the group said: “We know they are not legally obliged to at­tend our meet­ings but they have a moral obli­ga­tion to do so.

“The MSP and MP have not been here since they were voted in.

“Since Mar­garet was voted in, we have not seen hide nor hair of her. It’s unacceptable.

“It’s not just morally but it’s the fact these ar­eas are vot­ing them in.

“We’re not ask­ing them to be here for ev­ery meet­ing but they have a moral obli­ga­tion and the community coun­cil is the voice of the community.”

Ms Fer­rier de­fended her po­si­tion by say­ing she reg­u­larly en­gages with Half­way Community Coun­cil with is­sues such as the school bus cam­paign, de­spite fail­ing to at­tend meet­ings due to her work at West­min­is­ter on the day they are held.

She said: “On the day of the last Half­way Community Coun­cil meet­ing, I led a de­bate at West­min­ster on the clo­sure of half of Glas­gow’s job cen­tres. I be­lieve the clo­sure of Cam­bus­lang’s will hit peo­ple in Half­way hard­est, and am fight­ing tooth and nail to keep it open. This de­bate didn’t end un­til 4pm, and it wasn’t pos­si­ble to be in Half­way for 7pm to at­tend a meet­ing.

“The pre­vi­ous chair and cur­rent sec­re­tary of the group have vis­ited my of­fice on many oc­ca­sions to dis­cuss community is­sues, and my door al­ways re­mains open to any community coun­cil or group in the con­stituency.”

Ms Haughey re­sponded to the coun­cil’s con­cerns and said: “My par­lia­men­tary com­mit­ments make it dif­fi­cult for me to at­tend as many meet­ings of lo­cal groups and community coun­cils as I would like to on a Tues­day and Wed­nes­day evening when par­lia­ment is sit­ting.

“I have been in cor­re­spon­dence with Half­way Community Coun­cil as a di­rect re­sult of my staff rep­re­sent­ing me at their meet­ings. I have, for in­stance, raised the ques­tion of a new sec­ondary school for Half­way in par­lia­ment on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

“I am more than happy to meet with any community group at a mu­tu­ally con­ve­nient time, out with their reg­u­lar meet­ing dates, where these con­flict with my par­lia­men­tary sched­ule.”

Snub claim Mar­garet Fer­rier MP (left) and Clare Haughey MSP have been ac­cused of snub­bing Half­way Community Coun­cil meet­ings

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.