Fiery exchanges mar Granard mayor talks

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Maura Kilbride Harkin was officially declared the last sitting mayor of Granard Town Council earlier this week, but only after a struggle.

Maura Kilbride Harkin was officially declared the last sitting mayor of Granard Town Council earlier this week, but only after a struggle.

The long serving councillor had been expecting to replace outgoing chairperson and Fine Gael party colleague Cllr John Maguire with little, or no fuss at last Tuesday night’s annual general meeting.

But that was until Cllr Fintan Flood put Cllr Eddie Kelly’s name forward for consideration, sparking an angry response from Cllr Kilbride Harkin.

“The agreement was that I would get the chair for the last year,” said a visibly upset Cllr Kilbride Harkin.

“I am disgusted this is happening at the last AGM, I am so annoyed.”

As the mood inside the chamber plummeted into near silence, disagreement soon arose over who would represent the council on the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland.

Cllr Tommy Stokes said there had been some confusion over notification being given about AMAI meetings in the past.

Among the candidates mentioned as possible delegates this time around included Cllr Stokes and Cllr Flood as one option with Cllr Sean Howard and Cllr Terry McGovern forming a second alternative.

In the end and after many minutes of discussion, agreement was reached to appoint Cllr McGovern and Cllr Kelly to the AMAI after Cllr Sean Howard opted to withdraw his name from the hat.

Cllr Kilbride-Harkin was, meanwhile, ratified as a third or “substitute” delegate.

Despite that approval, raised voices continued to dominate proceedings as Cllr Stokes and the newly endorsed town mayor kept up their war of words.

Attempting to speak over the former county councillor, Cllr Stokes was warned not to “make little of the chair” as Cllr Kilbride Harkin took issue with how the AMAI selection process unfolded.

“It’s all because Sean Howard nominated me, that’s what this (argument) is all about. I’ll tell you, a lot of youse have short memories,” she said, before revealing “this kind of carry on” was something she hadn’t experienced in her near 30 year tenure on Granard Town Council.