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Local. Irish. Politics

category cork | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Tuesday February 03, 2009 21:35author by Paul O' Sullivanauthor email paulosullivan01 at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Deadwood in the political forest

Account of covering local council meetings

Local. Irish. Politics

Local Irish Politics. Sounds as appealing as myxomatosis rabbit-ridden stew for dinner. Potholes, Tidy Towns committees, town-centre parking and for a planning-paranoid society development levy’s and social-affordable housing.

When I stood in the cream, paint flaking walled chamber to cover a September 2007 local council meeting – for the first time for a local paper - I was keenly curious as to what might unfold in the following two hours. Perhaps it was the harp over the mantelpiece, or the framed declaration of independence beside an array of framed photographs of previous councils.

As the Councillors filed in I was surprised to recognise some of the faces from photographs dating back to the seventies. From six only one wasn’t, a man in his early-thirties. The mood was jovial. One councillor identified me as a new journo and welcomed me. When the town-clerk acting as chairman got the ball rolling the agenda items were evidently unchallenging. Between the few wry comments a sense of duty was palpable; new town-centre plan, trouble with enforcement of parking misdemeanours, back-slapping for the concerted effort of flower-bed maintenance.

An hour and a quarter in, the most important topic concerned rezoning of strategically important land within a town centre in a new draft of the county development plan. The town-clerk, acting as chairman, made the situation and available options to Councillors transparently clear through the use of short, tersely spoken sentences. As transparent, as discussion on the motion progressed, was a lack of understanding of the planning process on behalf of the Councillors, culminating in one Councillor blurting: ‘so what are we voting on?’ when the time came to cast their ballot.

Toward the meeting’s end, an elegantly dressed Councillor proposed a motion. Turning in her seat she informed us with notebooks that ‘this is strictly not for the Press’. One of the other reporters present whispered that this was a common occurrence, every month in fact.

So, not only did some Councillors not have a grasp, however rudimentary, of the planning system, others misunderstood rights of the press. Incidentally, telling journalists that something was off-limits was a trademark of hers, as every consecutive meeting proved.

I rushed to another meeting that had commenced a half-hour ago. A Labour Councillor had just begun to discuss metal trace metal levels in the town’s water supply. According to him the situation hadn’t altered for over eight years. I scribbled furiously. This was surely big news, but apparently not.

‘_, we’re all well aware of the situation and are doing our utmost to remedy the situation,’ the chairman stated.

What? No debate, points of view, reasons as to why the problem has existed for so long.
Local Irish politics is diseased, desperately ill from overexposure to apathy, negligence and poor calibre. Apathy: Few care what happens at these meetings. Negligence: We, as citizens, are negligent in our duty to ensure elected representatives are undertaking their job. Poor calibre: Quite plainly, those elected aren’t sufficiently educated, informed or broadminded enough to give any credence to spending recreational time in a town hall; demonstrated by the very fact that a local journalist, at least two decades younger than the Councillors concerned, understood proposed motions more fully than those that voted.

It is the rotten roots of a dying plant. The lack of foresight, management and efficient use of resources of Central Government, which is now only being fed to the public consciousness, is evident town-halls and council chambers across the country, if several months experience of one Cork constituency constituting three separate local Councils is anything to go by.

attachment local.irish.politics.txt 0 Mb

author by Michael - Human Leaguepublication date Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Local Councillors ? Dont make me laugh ... The Majority of the bunch of wannabees are mere apprentice Nosy Parkers ,Devoid of any Brains worth
writing about , A mish mash collection of brainless twits well in with 'those who matter in the local community ' .

A talking shop full of scroungers, scammers who might as well be looking into a black hole of Calcutta ,Phoney is a word that springs to mind and the
all important ''we know something that U dont '' smirk on the cabbage and potato red puss's which only a mother could love .

Death By Chocolate....

author by Peterpublication date Wed Feb 04, 2009 16:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the local solicitor, the do-gooders on the committees and in the charity shop, a few business people and even the parish priest who gossip about everyone else and marginalise anyone who dares to disagree with them. there is method in the madness tho: MONEY. Check out who is drinking the champagne in the pictures in the local papers.

author by Walter Dunnepublication date Wed Feb 04, 2009 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can guarantee our local Parish Priest in BRAY is there grinning in photos in our local newspaper almost every week with the CREAM of local society who are all in his pocket. Local Councillors, School Principals, those associated with Golf Clubs, local hotel owners, the local council who donated a Defibrillator which offered a photo opportunity for him but now lies gathering dust when he never was interested enough to organise the three monthly re-training courses and up grading of skills for same or even bothering to draw up rota for those qualified to use it. It meant a gathering of local press and photographers and his PUSS in all the local papers praising him for the FIRST Church to have one and now as we say you could prise the dust and grime off it he is no longer interested and looking with his cronies for the next photo opportunity almost begging for offers from locals to get the PUSS in the papers again. Local radio is no problem to him either to advertise his wares when he gets the chance. What a hypocrite out for self promotion and nothing else. No care for the genuine church goers under his care. They get regular begging letters looking for more Euro to swell the church coffers while he plans grandeur for the local church to put it into three quarters of a million in debt and soon after he will move off to another Parish leaving us to pay for his ego boost for 10 years or more and all this for things that we the Parishioners do not want but we have no say. All was planned and agreed behind our backs. That is his form of democracy.

At great expense a prefab TIN BOX Church has been in the Church grounds for over a month now and huge metal shipping containers also there for store of Church furniture etc., but is there any sign of the workmen or work being done yet while the rental of all this is costing us the Parishioners a fortune NO. ZIP, NADA. He had gates locked while work on the site was meant to be going on for almost 3 weeks. Now they are open again but the little man is probably too embarrassed to update us as to what the heck is happening and why no work has started. We were supposed to have our Church back and ready for Easter now a month has been WASTED and nothing done.

Archbishop Martin sits on his throne and ignores what is going on in the Parish and with the Parish Priest while he swans around lording it over his cronies and serfs.

It is not just the government that need a wake up call. The Church needs one too.

We should fire the lot of them. People power that is what we need. As well as protest marches to Government Offices we should have them to our local Churches too.

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