BY JACKIE KEOGH
‘DISGRACEFUL’ was the word that the independent councillor Michael Collins used to describe the failure of West Cork’s Oireachtas members to meet the eight Municipal District councillors.
A motion by Mr Collins inviting the three TDs and Senator to meet with the council members once every quarter was passed at a meeting of the Municipal District in Skibbereen on Monday, December 1st last.
Mr Collins confirmed that the letter to the Oireachtas members was sent out on December 12th, but by the time they held their latest monthly meeting this week, there wasn’t so much as an acknowledgement in the post, a response by email, a phone call, or a text.
‘It is now the 5th of January and we haven’t got a response. It’s a disgrace,’ said Mr Collins, who posed the question: ‘Are they – Fine Gael’s Jim Daly and Noel Harrington, Labour’s Michael McCarthy and the Fianna Fáil Senator Denis O’Donovan – not willing to meet us?’
Mr Collins told The Southern Star: ‘I tabled the motion because I believe it is important to keep the Oireachtas members up to date on all issues relating to West Cork and I thought that if we met three or four times a year we could jointly deal with the issues and, where necessary, advance them to Dáil Eireann.
‘It should be possible for all of the elected representatives – both local and national – to meet once every three months,’ said Mr Collins, ‘because there are huge issues that need to be addressed.’
The independent councillor said that motions tabled by him and his colleagues on the Municipal District are ‘falling on deaf ears.’ Mr Collins maintained: ‘We need our Oireachtas members to listen to the problems at hand and to work with councillors on finding solutions to these problems.’
The Southern Star contacted each of the four Oireachtas members.w Jim Daly confirmed receipt of the invitation the week before Christmas and said: ‘I am delighted to accept the invitation and have corresponded same to the West Cork Municipal District executive.’
Noel Harrington said: ‘I have no problem meeting with the council when a suitable time can be arranged (and) I have done so previously at County Hall.’
Michael McCarthy said he received correspondence from Cork County Council the week of the Christmas holidays and – as this is the first week back after the holidays – would be ‘responding positively’ to the invitation.
Senator Denis O’Donovan said he did not receive an invitation, but indicated that he would be ‘very happy to meet Cllr Collins, formally or informally, at anytime,’ and members of the Municipal District too.