HOUSEHOLD CHARGE ROW LATEST: Sinn Féin Councillor Jack Murray has accused Mayor Noel McBride of facilitating Fine Gael Councillors in stalling Monday’s Council meeting so that it would not debate two emergency motions on the household charge.
Cllr Murray had submitted an emergency motion which called for the council not to collect information from utility companies in pursuance of those who have not paid the regressive household charge.
And Cllr John Campbell, an independent, had tabled a motion calling on the council officials not to carry out door to door collections of the €100 bills.
Cllr Murry accused Fine Gael Councillors of blatantly stalling the meeting despite an all-party agreement that each member would only speak once on each issue.
Commenting after the meeting, Councillor Murray said: “Yet again, Mayor McBride has overseen a shambolic meeting of Donegal County Council. This time however, he has deliberately allowed his party colleagues to block a debate on an issue which affects thousands of families in this county.
“All councillors had been given due warning that I intended to submit a motion calling for the council not to collect information from utility companies for the purpose of pursuing those who have not paid the household charge.
“I emailed every councillor on Friday and spoke to representatives of all parties throughout the meeting. It became clear however that no party was willing to indicate whether or not they would support the motion.
“The reason for this later became clear – they did not intend to have the debate.
“Despite requesting that this urgent motion was dealt with – and with an apparent agreement from the mayor – Fine Gael councillors were allowed to speak repeatedly throughout the day in order to try and run down the clock. Despite this, I read my motion into the council minutes before the 6.15pm deadline. At this point, the mayor took a unilateral decision not to accept it and adjourned the meeting.
“Many meetings have run on until 8 or 9 at night to allow a debate to continue. This is the norm. This week however, as the motion did not politically suit the mayor, the meeting was brought to an end.
“It seems that unless you endorse Thatcherite policies, you will have an uphill battle in doing your democratic duty.”
Our report of what happened yesterday is here:
The adjourned February meeting took up most of yesterday, meaning the March meeting will not be completed until Monday, April 16.