Independent councillor leaves chamber after clash with Mayor

11 March 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Independent member of Monaghan Co Council Paudge Connolly staged a dramatic walk-out at Monday’s meeting of the authority after a clash with Co Mayor Jackie Crowe.
Colr Connolly took exception to being told by Mayor Crowe that he was being “very awkward”, and left the meeting after the Mayor refused to withdraw this assertion.
Colr Connolly was contributing to a discussion on a resolution from Monaghan Town Council seeking the extension of voting rights in elections in this country to the Irish Diaspora when the Mayor called him to order.
The resolution read: “Due to the substantial exodus of our people as a result of our country’s employment crisis, that the incoming Government would instigate a system of granting the Irish Diaspora the right to vote in Irish elections.”
Sinn Féin Co Councillor Sean Conlon proposed that the resolution be forwarded to the incoming Minister for Foreign Affairs, expressing the view that if the rights of Irish citizens who went abroad were enshrined in this way, it would help protect and enhance the future of Irish heritage overseas.
He thought the entitlement to vote would lend weight to Irish people maintaining their interest in their native country. It could have a beneficial effect when issues of overseas support and investment arose.
Brian McKenna seconded Colr Conlon’s proposal.
Colr Connolly said he had a difficulty with the Monaghan Town Council proposal in its current format, due to the looseness of the term “Diaspora”. He thought this description could fit anyone who had left this country at any stage in its history and had settled in a variety of countries such as the United States, the UK, Mexico, Chile and the countries of the European Union. “There are hundreds of millions of people out there who could fit the description,” the North Monaghan councillor stated.
He agreed that the Irish Diaspora had done, and were doing, the country proud, but asked: “Where do you stop and where do you start?” With regard to voting rights being extended to Irish passport holders, Colr Connolly made the point that some Russian spies had obtained Irish passports in recent times. He also pointed out that people in Northern Ireland were entitled to hold an Irish passport if they so desired.
Colr Conlon suggested that Colr Connolly’s reservations could be addressed by amending the wording of the proposal to “Irish citizens”.
When Mayor Crowe told Colr Connolly that he was being “very awkward”, Colr Connolly asked him to withdraw this phrase, but the Mayor reiterated that Colr Connolly was being awkward and said he would not withdraw it.

Full story in The Northern Standard

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