A row over the unveiling of a plaque to a famous County Waterford explorer led to a brief adjournment at a meeting of Waterford County Council in Dungarvan last week.
The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland has been invited by the Council to unveil a plaque to the memory of John Palliser of Comeragh, Kilrossanty, who explored vast areas of Canada in the 19th century.
The unveiling function is due to be held in Kilmacthomas this Wednesday but the plaque will eventually find a resting place in Kilrossanty, close to where the explorer is buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard.
Kilrossanty councillor Liam Brazil (FF) objected to the unveiling ceremony being held in Kilmacthomas and said it would be more appropriate to hold it in St Brigid’s Hall in Kilrossanty, where John Palliser was born and lived.
It would be more appropriate to hold the unveiling in Kilrossanty and to have local historian Sean Murphy as one of the speakers at the ceremony, he said. He added that he was the only member of the Council from Kilrossanty and he should have been consulted earlier on the issue.
Director of Services Denis McCarthy said a decision was taken by the protocol sub-committee to unveil the plaque in Kilmachomas which was the administrative centre of the Comeragh Area, but it would be put on display in Kilrossanty. The invitations had been issued and the Canadian Ambassador had agreed to perform the ceremony. Kilmacthomas had been confirmed as the venue and it would be very difficult and embarrassing to change it at this stage.
Cllr Ger Barron (Lab) said a compromise would be acceptable to everybody because the plaque would eventually to be put on display in Kilrossanty. Sean Murphy should have been involved, he said.
County Mayor Tom Higgins (FG) said the dispute over the location of the ceremony displayed a parochial attitude that was not very fetching.
Cllr Brazil proposed and Cllr Ann Marie Power (FG) seconded a proposal to change the venue to Kilrossanty.
Cllr James Tobin (FF) said the Fianna Fail members of the Council only heard of the unveiling ceremony five minutes earlier and they were being asked to make a decision there and then. He said they wanted to know the history regarding the matter before voting.
Mr McCarthy said the protocol committee decided the unveiling should be in Kilmachomas with the plaque put on display in Kilrossanty. A similar ceremony had been held in Lismore in the past.
The County Mayor said that Dungarvan Civic Centre should be the venue and people would not act in such an “infantile fashion” in the future.
The Council decided by 11 votes to 4 to hold the unveiling ceremony in Kilmachomas and not change it to Kilrossanty.