The Workers’ Party has called on John Halligan to hand over his Waterford City Council seat following his resignation from the party.
A party statement issued on Wednesday morning read: “If reports that he has resigned from the party are correct then that is a matter of great regret, however the party stands over our policies as decided democratically by our members and we would now call on Councillor Halligan to hand over the seat he holds on Waterford City Council on behalf of the party.”
The statement said that the party learned of Cllr Halligan’s resignation from the party with “deep regret”.
However, at the time of the statement’s issuing, the Workers’ Party said it had yet to receive Cllr Halligan’s formal resignation and had “only learned of (it) through the media”.
The party statement continued: “Earlier this year a problem arose when Councillor Halligan expressed his wish to vote for local authority service charges which the Workers’ Party has long opposed as an inequitable form of double taxation.
“Our position on service charges was decided democratically by our members at party Árd Fheiseanna over many years.
“John Halligan, against the wishes of the party nationally, and against the wishes of the members in Waterford, sought to ignore the party position on service charges and he refused to oppose service charges at a vote of Waterford City Council last December.”
Cllr Halligan’s move caused “difficulty for the party locally” according to the statement “and in particular for Cllr Davy Walsh who wished to uphold the party policy and oppose the service charges”.
Both Councillors agreed to abstain from the City Council vote while the party would remain opposed to service charges. But the statement added that “this was not a satisfactory situation”.
This led to a meeting between the party leadership and Cllr Halligan, where he “refused to give a commitment in future that as an elected representative of the party he would follow party policy and vote at all times in accordance with that party policy”.
Following this meeting, Cllr Halligan was asked to resign his Council seat and “to hand over the seat to a member of the party who would carry out party policy”.
The statement recalled last April’s party Árd Fheis in Waterford where the service charges issue was discussed.
“However Councillor Halligan did not indicate any difficulty he may have had with party policy at this meeting and he contested last year’s general election on the basis of those policies.”