Tuesday 29 January 2008

'Victory' claim on council access

A Green Party councillor was last night claiming victory in his move to have TDs banned from the non-public sections of Clare County Council's planning offices.

At the council's January meeting, Cllr Brian Meaney (Green) tabled a motion to have Clare's four Dáil deputies banned from securing access to the non-public sections of the planning offices. However, the motion coincided with plans by the council executive to ban councillors themselves from the non-public sections.

As a result, councillors and the officials held a meeting behind closed doors last Monday against the background of TDs railing against the move to have them banned.

Cllr Meaney's motion was adjourned to yesterday's meeting and he said he was withdrawing his motion.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Meaney confirmed that at the private council meeting last week, the county manager, Alec Fleming, said that the 32 members of the council would be provided with electronic cards that would ensure unhindered access to the planning office.

Cllr Meaney said: "I'm happy under this new arrangement that the TDs will no longer have access and be able to skulk around the planning office."

Mayor of Clare Cllr Patricia McCarthy (Ind) said: "The issue of access for councillors to the non-public section of the planning office has been clarified and councillors are to be issued with key cards.

"In relation to anyone else, it is a matter for the county manager to manage who has access to and from the council headquarters."

Cllr Martin Conway (FG) said that the withdrawal by Cllr Meaney of his motion was a good compromise.

He said: "Councillors will still have access to the planning department, but we have given an undertaking that we will only use the keys in special circumstances."

The Irish Times


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