A Sligo councillor is accusing one of his colleagues of engaging in ‘cheap stroke politics’ in the weeks leading up to the elections.
Independent Councillor Declan Bree made the accusation at a meeting this morning of councillors from the Sligo Municipal District after Independent Alliance Councillor Marie Casserly proposed that a civic reception be given to the world famous Sligo traditional group Dervish to mark its 30th anniversary.
Cllr Bree said he is a fan of Dervish but that his problem was Cllr Casserly’s failure to adhere to protocol in putting it forward.
Cllr Casserly said that recognising the role Dervish had played as ambassadors for this region and the country, she proposed that Sligo County Council mark the ‘significant milestone’ with a civic reception.
But the mood music then hit a sour note.
When Mayor Cllr Rosaleen O Grady asked for a seconder for the motion, no councillor seconded.
Cllr Bree then pointed out that protocol had not been followed in the way the motion was put forward.
He said it was unprecedented to have such a motion on the agenda.
He said that over the decades, it had always been the privilege of the mayor or cathaoirleach to decide on receptions.
If a councillor felt that a particular individual or group was deserving of a reception, the councillor privately asked the mayor or cathaoirleach to consider it.
Cllr Bree said it was unacceptable for a councillor to table a motion to publicly put pressure on a mayor or cathaoirleach to host a reception for a group or individual.
He said he is, and has been, a fan of Dervish.
He recalled he was privileged to be a member of the borough council when it accorded the members of Dervish the highest civil honour, the Freedom of the Borough, in 2004.
However, he added that while he was a fan of Dervish, he would not be party to this type of motion.
He described it as ‘stroke politics’ that was ‘unacceptable.’
He said it was totally disrespectful to the mayor and cathaoirleach, and was also disrespectful and unfair on the members of Dervish who, he said, would clearly not want to be involved in any type of controversy.
He said any councillor who wanted some publicity could come in seeking receptions for a list of worthy recipients.
Cllr Bree said ‘this type of cheap stroke politics in the weeks leading up to an election smacks of opportunism and is unbecoming of any public representative.’
However, speaking afterwards to Ocean FM News, Cllr Casserly said she was ‘genuinely very, very shocked’ by what Cllr Bree had said, and that it was never her intention, or had entered her mind, to do as he had alleged.