15 September 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard


WHILE the general focus was on just one topic — the dreaded Brexit — the furiously paced, two-hour session of hand-wringing engaged in by Monaghan’s locally elected voices at their specially-convened conclave on Wednesday of last week veered up and down all sorts of avenues, albeit mostly in and out of the same alleyways and cul-de-sacs over and over, before finally settling on agreements, of sorts, on how to proceed in the face of the perceived crisis.

The main points of consensus were reached through the adoption of motions submitted by Fianna Fáil’s Seamus Coyle and Sean Conlon of Sinn Féin, the general thrust of the former being that urgent meetings be sought with politicians all the way up to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to ventilate members’ serious concerns, with the latter focusing on a demand that the powers that be on this side of the Border do everything they can to facilitate the “democratic wishes” of voters in the North and seek to find an “island-wide solution”.

Against a backdrop where it appeared nobody wanted the 6pm meeting to last all night, but where all wanted to have their say, the relatively protracted introductions to their submissions by Cllrs Coyle and Conlon had prompted Cathaoirleach PJ O’Hanlon to repeatedly call on members to be brief and refrain from repeating points already made — making it progressively harder for the later contributors to come up with something new!

One of those who displayed a certain tetchiness from early on was Hughie McElvaney, who interrupted Cllr Coyle’s introductory presentation once or twice in urging him to get round to making his proposal. But the Corcaghan man in due course had a suggestion of his own endorsed, the rather ambitious objective of which was that the Democratic Unionist Party’s leader Arlene Foster might be persuaded to have a change of heart on her fairly blunt dismissal of the all-Ireland forum advocated last week by the hapless Mr Kenny.

A fourth and final proposal at Wednesday’s meeting — and also arguably the only one of the four in relation to which the councillors can exercise any actual control — was advanced by Raymond Aughey. The slightly more prosaic aspiration in the newly-co-opted FF-member’s motion was that the councillors might consider an easing of rates at their next budget meeting with a view to alleviating small local businesses adversely hit by the Brexit ramifications.

While the spontaneous propositions from Cllrs Aughey and McElvaney …

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