Mayor of Limerick accused of ‘abuse of power’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cllr Seighin O Ceallaigh
METROPOLITAN mayor Michael Sheahan has been accused of exercising “an abuse of power” and being “totalitarian” by a political rival.

METROPOLITAN mayor Michael Sheahan has been accused of exercising “an abuse of power” and being “totalitarian” by a political rival.

Cllr Séighin Ó Ceallaigh, Sinn Fein, had sought to debate in today’s metropolitan district meeting the possibility of creating a roundabout at the main entrance to the University of Limerick (UL).

As part of this, he also wanted to discuss methods of traffic management in the area.

But after he submitted this in the form of a notice of motion, Mayor Sheahan stepped in to stop the motion going on the agenda, and moved the item to the local area forum for the City East area, which is held behind closed doors.

Cllr Ó Ceallaigh said the traffic problems at UL have a knock-on effect to other electoral areas.

“The Local Area Meetings are a useful place to discuss issues, but unfortunately do not have the same power as district meetings, something I would like to see changed. I am trying to raise local issues and it doesn’t help the Council or the City when the Mayor acts in such a way. Is he now saying that UL is a local issue, not a city-wide one ,” he asked.

In response, Mayor Sheahan said his City East colleague was wrong to mention UL in his motion.

“It is the road infrastructure outside the university [he is referring to] which is the local authority’s problem. It is the responsibility of the local engineer Finbarr Keyes. It is the same as a traffic light in the middle of O’Connell Street, which would go to the City West forum. This is why I have referred it to the local forum,” he explained.

But Cllr Ó Ceallaigh is unimpressed, saying: “I think that the Mayor is looking to make his job easier by removing these motions, which oddly include one of his own. I think that it is very totalitarian, the way in which he alone can decide what motions actually make it to the agenda. It is an abuse of power.”