'Personal attack': Limerick councillor walks out after war of words over €50k slipway

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

There was a heated exchange in the council meeting over a slipway at Ringmoylan in Pallaskenry

There was a heated exchange in the council meeting over a slipway at Ringmoylan in Pallaskenry

THERE was a heated exchange at this month’s Adare Rathkeale municipal district meeting which led to one councillor walking out, after another was accused of launching a personal attack.

Fianna Fail Cllr Kevin Sheahan queried a municipal allocation of €50,000 going back a number of years, for a slipway at Ringmoylan in Pallaskenry – work for which has not yet been undertaken.

During the same meeting this Tuesday, Cllr Sheahan also insisted on calling Independent Cllr Emmett O’Brien, Mr O’Brien, to which Cllr O’Brien responded that he wished to be called by his proper title.

Cllr Sheahan said that he sits “uncomfortably” and “can’t rest easy on €50,000, resting in council accounts for a project in Pallaskenry I’ve seen nothing on”.

Cllr Sheahan went on to say that he has met “nobody in Pallaskenry who thinks a slipway is a good idea”.

“I walked the streets in Pallaskenry and noticed that the footpaths are bad. I don’t see evidence that it’s getting the help it needs, and there’s €50,000 of municipal funds losing its value bit by bit.”

Independent Cllr O’Brien, himself from Pallaskenry, said that Cllr Sheahan’s comments were “most dispiriting and most disappointing”.

“We started off the year united but immediately there’s an attack,” said Cllr O’Brien.

The former Fianna Fail councillor pointed out that emergency personnel are unable to access the Shannon Estuary at Ringmoylan, which he said has become known locally for tragedy.

“To politicise this slipway is outrageous,” he added. Cllr O’Brien made reference to a tragedy in 2014 in which a woman lost her life. Emergency craft were forced to enter the water at Foynes and in Clare during that incident, he said.

Cllr O’Brien added that it was also a concern to him that the money has been sitting in a council account.

“This is an attack on Pallaskenry which has been neglected for 30 years,” said Cllr O’Brien, making reference to the time before his own election in 2014.

“To criticise this is the most callous form of attack since I’ve been elected and since before I’ve been elected. Talk to families who have lost loved ones there,” he said.

During the exchange, Cllr O’Brien muttered “this is continuous” and walked out, taking his belongings with him.

Cllr Kevin Sheahan said: “I am within my right to wonder what’s happening with €50,000 as a councillor!”

The meeting was adjourned for five minutes after which all councillors returned to the table including Cllr O'Brien. Cathaoirleach Cllr Richard O’Donoghue said that thereafter, speakers would get three minutes each. There were to be “no personal attacks” or he would adjourn the meeting immediately. He also said “everyone is entitled to their proper title”. A council engineer confirmed that the delay in delivering the slipway is due to landowner issues.