Political row is the first item on council agenda in Limerick

Cllr Michael Collins
Cllr Michael Collins

THE new Limerick Council has yet to hold its first meeting and there’s already political jostling and bickering aplenty.

Before this Friday’s historic, inaugural meeting of the amalgamated local authority, there’s been more stomping of feet in the world of local politics than at feeding time in a Montessori school.

Last Thursday, four Fianna Fáil  councillors in Limerick threw the toys out of their prams and formed their own independent alliance after a disagreement over who should lead the party on the new Council.

Cllr Eddie Ryan (Cappamore-Kilmallock) lost out on becoming party leader and Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon (City East) also failed in his attempt to become deputy leader, with the positions instead going to cousins Michael and James Collins.

Cllr Ryan and Cllr O’Hanlon were then joined by Cllr Joe Crowley (Limerick City North) and Cllr Kevin Sheahan (Adare-Rathkeale) to form their own short-lived breakaway group of Fianna Fail.

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Then, last Friday, the disagreement involving Fianna Fáil councillors elected to Limerick City and County Council was resolved following discussions between all 13 councillors and the party’s general secretary, Seán Dorgan.

In a brief statement following the debacle, Fianna Fáil thanked all the councillors for the constructive and positive approach taken during the discussions.

“All 13 elected councillors will now take their place on the Fianna Fáil benches at the first meeting of Limerick City and County Council this week,” read the party’s press statement.

Meanwhile, the Anti Austerity Alliance have now lashed out at what they describe as the “horse trading and ego stroking” taking place between parties in the run up to the election of a Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach for Limerick City and County Council at this Friday’s first meeting.

The AAA have condemned what they see as the focus of the parties on “changing the faces, passing around the chains, but keeping the same failed policies”. The party maintains that instead councillors should be “discussing the real issues; the housing crisis, privatisation, cutbacks, and the upcoming council budget where these things could be stopped”.

“The big parties, unfortunately, seem focused not on addressing the problems facing ordinary people, but on getting their hands on the Cathaoirleach chains, and the expenses that come with it,” quipped newly elected AAA councillor for Limerick City North, Cian Prendiville.

“FG, Labour and FF seem to be all agreed that the next Council budget will be one of cuts, privatisations, rent increases and a continuation of the ‘do nothing’ policy in relation to the social housing crisis. All they are negotiating over is who gets the nice office,” he concluded.