Sparks fly at Granard meeting

A row threatened to overshadow last week’s meeting of Granard Town Council after it emerged local authority members were not notified of talks involving county manager Tim Caffrey, chamber of commerce representatives and various working groups had taken place in recent weeks.

A row threatened to overshadow last week’s meeting of Granard Town Council after it emerged local authority members were not notified of talks involving county manager Tim Caffrey, chamber of commerce representatives and various working groups had taken place in recent weeks.

Labour Councillor Tommy Stokes came under fire from Fine Gael counterpart Cllr Maura Kilbride Harkin upon delivering the news last Tuesday evening.

He insisted his role in the meeting was as a member of the local Tidy Towns Association, and that fellow Town Councillor John Maguire, who is also involved with Tidy Towns, was also present.

“It was just a quick meeting. Myself and (Cllr) John Maguire were there and the county manager (Tim Caffrey) came out,” he said.

Details of what was discussed at the meeting were not debated, causing Deputy Mayor Cllr PJ Reilly to express his “disappointment” at the misunderstanding.

Cllr Maura Kilbride Harkin was more vocal however and hit out at Cllr Stokes for the apparant breakdown in communication.

“Surely you would have thought of your fellow councillors,” she told Cllr Stokes. “What did the Chamber (of Commerce) do for this town?”

“What do you mean? The Chamber are the backbone of this town,” Cllr Stokes replied.

As the stand-off grew ever more heated, Cllr Kilbride Harkin said it was not the first time she has failed to receive correspondence of similar events from those attached to the Chamber of Commerce.

“They (Chamber) never notified me of anything, Tommy Stokes, never,” she stated.

In an attempt to diffuse the spat, County Manager, Tim Caffrey who was listening on to the exchange between the two councillors confirmed he did attend the meeting.

“I got an invite to attend the meeting. I was invited before Christmas and for some unknown reason it was cancelled. I met with the Chamber (of Commerce) and I meet with the Chamber in Longford town. From my point of view it was not a slight on the Town Council,” he said.