Limerick's councillors 'ignore' Castro and agree on Pope's visit

Proposal by Sinn Fein councillor voted down in large numbers

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Limerick's councillors 'ignore' Castro and agree on Pope's visit

LIMERICK’S elected representatives are at odds over paying tribute to Fidel Castro, the recently deceased Cuban leader.

Yet the meeting of councillors agreed to roll out the red carpet for Pope Francis in the event of a visit to Limerick on his now confirmed trip to Ireland in 2018.

“So,” remarked Cllr John Gilligan at Monday’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council, “we are welcoming the Pope and ignoring Fidel Castro.”

Earlier, Cllr Eleanor Hogan had suggested that Limerick City and County Council extend an invitation to Pope Francis to come to Limerick during his visit to Ireland in August 2018. 

And this was agreed without any dissension. 

But Limerick’s councillors resolutely refused to do anything to mark the passing of Cuba’s Fidel Castro.  

Instead, they voted down in large numbers a proposal by Sinn Fein councillor Seighin O’Ceallaigh to hold a minute’s silence and to open a book of condolences. 

“This is not a place for left and right,” Cllr O’Ceallaigh said as he made his proposal.

The people of Cuba, he pointed out, had “lost their founding leader”, an historic world figure, and he felt it should be marked. 

But Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon said he did not share Cllr O’Ceallaigh’s views and put the proposal to the floor where it was roundly defeated by more than three to one. 

“That is the end of that so, Seighin,” the Mayor said.

Nobody, however, remarked on the fact that Pope Francis himself had extended condolences to the people of Cuba on the death of Fidel Castro, saying it was a “sad day”.