By BRIAN MOORE
AN independent councillor has rebuffed claims that he wasn’t available to meet with West Cork’s Oireachtas members. And he has claimed that visiting Ministers are being ‘hidden’ from the public.
Cllr Michael Collins first called for regular meetings between the West Cork councillors and the four Oireachtas members before Christmas.
However, after a meeting was arranged and then rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances, it was agreed that another meeting would take place at an agreed date.
‘When the date for the second meeting arrived, only two councillors were able to attend. One of these councillors being myself. So another rescheduling was requested. Then Deputy Michael McCarthy TD claimed in The Southern Star that I was unable to meet with the Oireachtas members, even though I had called for the meeting. I was never unavailable to meet with Deputy McCarthy, or any other member of the Oireachtas,’ Cllr Collins said.
Cllr Collins told a meeting of the Municipal District in Bantry this week that it is all too evident why regular meetings between West Cork’s councillors and Oireachtas members must take place.
‘At our last Municipal meeting in Dunmanway, I asked my fellow elected members if they knew that Minister Alex White paid a visit to West Cork a few days previously. None of the councillors present knew that the Minister was in West Cork. The same has happened with Minister Joan Burton, Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Minister Ann Phelan – they have all been to West Cork in the last few months, but it seems they have been hidden from the elected members of the Cork County Council and from the majority of the public in West Cork,’ he said.
‘This has to stop, we should all be working together and we should have been given the opportunity of meeting with these Ministers when they were here,’ said Cllr Collins, referring to the visits, which took part in recent weeks, involving the Education minister, the Tanaiste and the Minister for Rural Affairs.
‘I welcome any Minister coming here and I feel we have lost a massive opportunity in working together for the greater good of the people of West Cork,’ Cllr Collins concluded.