Fianna Fail in Limerick in dispute over Calais trip

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

French speaker: Cllr Joe Crowley
A ROW has broken out between two leading members of Fianna Fail in Limerick over who should take up a council invitation to France.

A ROW has broken out between two leading members of Fianna Fail in Limerick over who should take up a council invitation to France.

Mayor Kevin Sheahan is expected to go to Calais later this month for a visit in the hope of fostering links in the area of lace production.

But his deputy, Cllr Joe Crowley thinks he should go instead because he speaks French, and has business connections in the country.

At the very least, he feels he should be accompanying the first citizen on the visit, which takes place between June 19 and 21.

“I think, as I am coming towards the end of my term as deputy mayor, it would be nice to have had some trip away. This would be the most appropriate one because I speak French,” he said. “I feel I deserve to go on a trip myself.”

Asked about the level of French he possesses, northside councillor Crowley added: “I wouldn’t be fluent, but I would certainly be able to carry on a conversation with someone. I would understand it on a conversational level, and I write quite good French.”

He replied “yes I do actually” when asked if Mayor Sheahan had hogged the trips somewhat.

“Obviously I have been to France on numerous occasions, given the fact I have a wine business, and it is something I am still involved in. I would certainly have an interest in France,” said Cllr Crowley.

He said he would be making his feelings known to the mayor, who has just returned from a trip to Boston in the USA.

“I would hope there is an opportunity for him to redesignate this trip to myself,” he said.

One councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, criticised Mayor Sheahan for not allowing others attend civic events.

“Joe has not been allowed a look in at all. Even at the normal ratio, the deputy mayor always got a fair whack at it, but it has not happened this year,” said the councillor.

Mayor Sheahan said he had “no comment at all” to make when contacted by the Limerick Leader.

But following this, Mayor Sheahan approached his deputy mayor offering him the opportunity to visit Calais.

“Kevin called me into his office yesterday, and said I could go. He said he had no issue with me going. I would be delighted to get the trip there, as I have an affinty with France,” said Cllr Crowley this Wednesday, after the story appeared in the Limerick Leader print edition.

However, he added: “I don’t know if I can go now. The problem with these trips is they are at too short notice.”