Elected members from the two main government parties are at loggerheads over proposed nominations to the board of Longford Community Resources, writes Liam Cosgrove.
Earlier this month, the Leader revealed how Department of the Environment officials told local authority chiefs nominations to the development company’s board were no longer required.
That prompted a difference of opinion between both parties with Fianna Fail opting to proceed with nominating three councillors and Fine Gael asking for further clarification from central government.
Last Wednesday, the controversy showed little sign of easing as councillors held their first monthly meeting following last month’s local elections.
They were informed by Director of Services Frank Sheridan the circular handed down from Leinster House was a directive, not a concrete embargo preventing nominations to be made.
He said definitive guidelines as to how the new arrangement would work had yet to be signed off on.
Fine Gael Cllr Micheal Carrigy said his views on the subject hadn’t changed.
“We were informed prior to the meeting (Council AGM) there was a requirement (not to nominate candidates) with immediate effect,” he pointedly remarked.
“Sure, what does that state?,” Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) interrupted. “You can (nominate) if you want.”
Cllr Martin Mulleady (FF) seemed just as baffled by the bickering as he aimed his frustration in the direction of Cllr Carrigy.
“You are getting too bogged down in rules and regulations Micheal. We should go ahead (and nominate),” he said.
Cllr John Duffy (FG) was next to join in. Offering a wry grin at the sniping that was coming from both sides of the chamber, he questioned the validity of the debate.
“If we have the right (to nominate) then great, but if there is no requirement why don’t we appoint somebody to every board in the country?”
Cllr Paul Ross (FG) backed those sentiments up, claiming the difference of opinion between both sides made little sense.
“Look it, we are fighting about words here,” he said, gently shaking his head from side to side. “We got clarification, what is the argument about? Common sense surely has to prevail here.”
Independent Cllr Gerry Warnock took a more forceful approach, choosing instead to direct his ire at government leaders.
“That department (of Environment) is an absolute shambles,” he interjected. “They are making things up as they go along.”
In the meantime, and as Longford Co Council awaits further correspondece, Fianna Fail nominated Martin Mulleady, PJ Reilly and Mae Sexton (Independent).
Fine Gael, depending on further clarification given by the Department of Environment, put forward Cllr John Browne to sit on the LCRL board.