There may have been rehearsals for a concert taking place that same night in the Strand Theatre on Monday week last, but the real drama that evening in Carrick was saved for Town Hall.
A motion tabled by Fianna Fáil Councillor Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan in which she called for the Council to cease the Supplementary Development Charge it adopted last year was ruled out of order by Mayor Liam Walsh.
“There is no way you can tell me I can’t have my notice of motion,” said Cllr Cooney-Sheehan, who had made her feelings on the matter known to this paper in our May 8th edition.
But that’s exactly what transpired as Mayor Walsh explained the reasons why her motion could not be discussed as it sought to interfere with the planning process by changing Council policy while planning applications were under appeal.
In a written reply at the meeting, Town Clerk Michael O’Brien re-iterated the modus operandi of the Development Charge: to fund the construction of a new bridge and its ancillary works.
The bridge forms a key element of the Town Development Plan 2008 and Town Centre Strategy 2007 and was drawn up to ensure that developers of major developments would contribute towards the cost of funding the bridge.
Cllr Cooney-Sheehan was told that were her notice of motion to be permitted and acted upon, then the Council would be acting ‘ultra vires’ – a sub judice action given that planning appeals had yet to be ruled upon.
This cut no mustard with Cllr Cooney-Sheehan, who branded her colleagues as “cowards” who had opted to hide behind procedure and red tape.
She won support from Fianna Fáil colleague Kieran Bourke who said that his fellow Councillor was “shafted” at the meeting.
Said Cllr Cooney-Sheehan: “My motion is most certainly in order. I provided proper notice and I also had a seconder. If Councillors are against my motion then let them vote against it.”
Repeating that Cllr Cooney-Sheehan was out of order, Mayor Walsh warned that her continued objections would force him to expel her from the meeting.
“You have some coalition going on here,” said the angry Councillor. “No one is standing up to say that this motion is right and proper. All I can is: shame on you, cowards the whole lot of you…
“The hypocrisy around this table really pi**es me off. It’s a disgrace.”