Galway City Council’s meeting was briefly suspended yesterday after the Mayor of Galway was compared to Mussolini.
A row broke out as councillors discussed the minutes of last month’s meeting.
A dispute arose between the Mayor of Galway Independent Councillor Collette Connolly, who was chairing the meeting, and Fianna Fail Councillor Alan Cheevers, after Councillor Cheevers attempted to make a point centered on the minutes of the December meeting.
Mayor Connolly questioned the relevance of the contribution being made and ruled clarification of the minutes was not the correct forum for the statement being made.
However Councillor Cheevers insisted.
The Mayor responded saying the meeting was time limited and they had to move on.
Councillor Cheevers then accused her of running the meeting like Mussolini – the Mayor’s response was to abruptly suspend the meeting.
Once proceedings resumed, a member of council management reminded all present of the necessity to respect the rulings of the chair.
Mayor Connolly told Midwest News today that there are fifteen minutes provided for standing orders and that it was her opinion as chair, that Cllr Cheevers’ contribution was a statement rather than clarification, which is not permitted under the authority’s rules.
She added that councillors must abide by their own standing orders; otherwise you cannot get through the meeting, demonstrated by the city council covering just two reports yesterday.
She claims the comparison to Mussolini is an ‘outrageous’ remark, adding that she didn’t think it was fitting or proper.
Councillor Cheevers told Midwest News today that public representatives should be allowed to make and finish their points at meetings, once the points don’t diverge from the minutes of the meeting.
He claims that this was not the first time he was cut off while making a point at the city council meetings, as he says he was similarly interrupted while discussing the Housing For All plan in December.
The Mayor, he says, must remain neutral when chairing council meetings and argues that the points he was making yesterday were directly related to the chief executive report which was being discussed at the time.
After the meeting was suspended he says that he took it upon himself to voluntarily leave the meeting, and has vowed to stay away from future meetings ‘unless respect is shown to public representatives.’