Story of the week from February 24th, 1984
There was uproar at Monday's meeting of Longford County Council when Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members clashed in a head on confrontation over the recent refusal by Environment Minister, Mr Liam Kavanagh, to meet council chairman Cllr Michael Nevin of Sinn Fein as leader of a council deputation.
In an acrimonious debate which was devoid of any decorum and marked by references to IRA murderers and Maggie Thatcher's puppets, members hurled verbal abuse across the table with near reckless abandon and frequently banged fists on table tops to illustrate the vehemence of their argument.
The first member to refer to the Minister's snub was Cllr Noel McGeeney, who described it as a “desperate insult” to the council. The Labour Party with the backing of Fine Gael was ignoring democracy, he charged.
In an attack on the Labour Party, Cllr McGeeney slammed the practice of sending non-elected people into Europe. “Brendan Halligan went to Brussels and voted for abortion despite the fact that only a few months ago this country rejected abortion in a referendum.
Cllr Michael Doherty said if anybody had come out of the affair with honour it was the chairman. The chairman had to swallow a little bit of pride to withdraw from the deputation but he was a man of principles.