SOCIAL Democrat election candidate Holly Cairns was told she had offended and upset Council staff with a motion that they felt suggested they weren’t doing their job properly.
Her motion, which was passed by 53 out of 54 councillors, had called for them to be sent documents three working days before having to vote on them. Currently, she said, they receive them just prior to meetings.
‘When my motion waspassed, the chief executive referred it to the Corporate Policy Group to iron out the details. But I found out last week that behind closed doors, the Corporate Policy Group (which includes eight councillors – all of whom supported my motion in the Chamber) decided that receiving the documents at 9am before an 11am meeting was absolutely fine. This is outrageous. I can’t believe it happened. I will not stand for it. I refuse to be a rubber stamp for Cork County Council.’
The county councillor revealed how the head of the local authority, Tim Lucey, told her that staff were upset by what she suggested in her motion.
On the latest episode of her podcast, Inside the Chamber, she said that he told her staff felt the nature of the motion on her Facebook page ‘was
Defending herself, she said she had just explained her experience ‘honestly and truthfully.’
Describing the Council staff as ‘amazing’, she said: ‘I wasn’t insinuating that anyone was doing a shabby job. I was just saying how it is and I’ll continue to do that. I was very surprised to be told that it was derogatory to do my job.’
She said that getting hefty documents and reports before a meeting started impeded her from doing her job properly.
‘I am literally prevented from being able to do my job,’ she said.
Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, says that she fully backs Holly’s quest for more transparency and accountability at local government level.
‘Cllr Cairns is being prevented from doing the job she was elected to do. It is as simple as that,’ said the TD.
‘As I know from my dealings with the likes of the FAI, there are organisations that do things the right way, and organisations that do things the wrong way. Organisations that do things the wrong way end up failing.
‘I can remember facing similar pushback from the executive of Kildare County Council when I started out in politics. It can be a lonely place to be when you’re the only one standing up, but Cllr Cairns is doing the right thing,’ added Deputy Murphy.