The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council says any form of intimidation or bullying will not be tolerated

The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council says any form of intimidation or bullying will not be tolerated in the council.

Fianna Fail Councillor Tom MacSharry was responding to claims of bullying by another councillor.

The councillor alleged during an interview on Ocean FM last week that bullying occurred during efforts by councillors to decide on their arrangements for working on the council after the last local elections.

This latest episode arises as a result of comments last week by one councillor in relation to the failure of the council so far to agree on its budget for the coming year.

During today’s December monthly meeting of the council, Cllr MacSharry said he wanted to make a statement arising out of what he described as ‘serious allegations of bullying, intimidation and harassment made last Wednesday 27 th of November live on Ocean FM, allegedly suffered by an elected member of the council.

He said that councillor also made reference to another elected member of this council who had allegedly suffered the same.

Cllr MacSharry said he wanted make it clear as Cathaoirleach that anything outside the scope of the normal cut and thrust of political discourse in the council building that could be interpreted as bullying, intimidation or harassment of any member, male or female will not, should not and can not be tolerated.

He said the council is committed to maintain an environment that encourages and supports the right to dignity at work of all staff and councillors.

He said all councillors and staff are expected to respect the right of each individual to dignity in their working life, and that any form of intimidation or bullying is in breach of organisational policy- and will not be tolerated.

Cllr MacSharry said the council has a dignity at work policy in place, which provides procedures for any staff member or councillor who feel they are being bullied to make a complaint.

He said he wanted to clearly state that if a complaint is made, it will be taken seriously and the procedures will be followed through.

He pointed out that there is also a code of conduct for councillors in place which requires all councillors to treat their colleagues and council employees with courtesy, respect and dignity.

He added that it is open to any Councillor to raise a complaint if any breach of the Code of conduct occurs.

He also said he wanted to point out that harassment is a criminal offence, and should be reported to An Garda Siochana.

He also said that as far as he is aware, no complaint of bullying, intimidation or harassment has been received by the executive of the council to date in relation to these allegations and he also wanted to clearly state that since he had taken the chair of the Council, he had not observed any behaviour, which I believed constitutes bullying, harassment or intimidation.