The chief executive of Sligo County Council has asked for time and space to see if a resolution can be found to an ongoing row in the west Sligo village of Easkey.
The row centres on complaints over how the village’s community council allegedly operates.
For months now, a number of people from Easkey have protested outside the headquarters of Sligo County Council before the monthly meetings of councillors.
At the February monthly meeting of the council on Monday last, the debate moved inside, to the councillors’ meeting chamber.
That was as a result of a motion from Solidarity People Before Profit Councillor Gino O Boyle calling on the council chief executive to investigate a whistle blower’s report which, the motion stated, related to Easkey Community Council.
A number of councillors said this row has been going on for a long time, with no progress made on resolving it.
Council Chief executive Ciaran Hayes told councillors it was difficult to know what to say in this case.
He said he gave a commitment he would engage with the community . . . he had offered himself as an honest broker and that work was continuing.
However, he insisted ‘this difficulty is owned by the community and not by the council.’
He also said he had some difficulty with the specific motion from Cllr O Boyle, and with some of the statements in the whistle blower’s report, adding that if he was the subject of those statements, he would refer them to his legal adviser.
Mr Hayes said he would continue to make whatever efforts he could to resolve the issue and he would get back to the councillors.
But Cllr Clarke said it was more than a year and a half since he brought this up and the people of Easkey wanted transparency, accountability and democracy.
Mr Hayes told councillors that a public forum such as a council meeting was probably not the best place to bring sides together.
He told councillors he would come back to them but urged them to bear in mind that the divisions were quite deep.
He said that in every dispute, there is right and wrong on both sides, but he asked for a space to try to resolve the situation and bring sides together.
Cllr O Boyle’s motion calling on the council chief executive to investigate a whistle blower’s report was agreed to.
Meanwhile, in response to a query from Ocean FM News, Easkey Community Council says it will be happy to cooperate with Sligo County Council in respect of any issue.
It added that, unfortunately it is unable to comment on the specific report as it is not privy to the details but would like to point out that all issues raised to date have been responded to appropriately and to the full satisfaction of all its regulatory partners.