Following a proposal to adopt the minutes of the previous month’s meeting, Cllr James keogh (Ind) announced that he had an “issue” with the minutes during last week’s meeting of Longford Town Council.
The councillor’s frustrations centered around the fact that a member of the public had entered the council chamber during last month’s meeting and “intimidated” him. He pointed out that it had since been brought to his attention that the matter had not been minuted.
“I have a contention with those minutes,” he fumed, adding that “after what I suffered from a member of the public walking in here and handing out a document about me”, it was imperative that the matter was minuted.
Town Clerk, Dan Rooney then pointed out to Cllr Keogh that he was he who had taken the decision not to minute the matter and apologised for having caused further annoyance to the town area representative for doing so.
“I support Cllr Keogh on this,” Cllr Tony Flahery (FF) continued. “The individual in question should not have been allowed in here to the meeting in the first place - the matter took place and yet it has not been recorded in the minutes.”
Cllr Mae Sexton then added, “It does need to be recorded in the minutes for legal reason”.
She continued: “We are vulnerable....anyone could walk in here and throw an explosive device.”
Mayor, Peggy Nolan (FG) then proposed to amend the minutes to include the incident with Cllr Keogh and this was adapted.
“I made the call to exclude the matter from the minutes,” added Mr Rooney. “Maybe I should not have made that call - but I will certainly amend the minutes accordingly.”
The meeting then heard that the town authority did not have the power to “bar” a member of the public who interrupted meetings, however if the matter became difficult, members were entitled to call the Gardaí who could then remove those involved. “There is a legal doubt that the council can ban by resolution a member of the public from attending future meetings and Standing Orders may have to be amended to allow the council to take further action in the case of similar interruptions,” Mr Rooney continued. “The actions at the last meeting may amount to a breach of the Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994, section 6 and 7 and this action would need to be pursued by way of garda investigation.”
“I support Cllr Keogh on this,” Cllr Denis Hughes then added. “However, the individual in question is not a threat, he is more of an annoyance than anything else.”