Council Affairs: Bob Hoskins would be ashamed of you

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

You’d wonder how many Cliff Richard fans there are in Limerick City and County Council. “It’s so funny how we don’t talk anymore” feels like a lyric often sung in council meetings.

Word has it that our forlorn local representatives feel left out in the cold and taken for granted by local authority management. Why? Communication. Or the lack thereof.

As Bob Hoskins used to say in the BT advert back in the day, its good to talk.

I’d be the first to venture that there’s far too much huffing and puffing from our local representatives, though I’ll say no more about hot air (don’t mention the war!). But to be fair to them, communication is key in any relationship and, while councillors by nature tend to love the sound of their own voices, it seems that, somewhere along the line, the listening isn’t being done somewhere.

For a while now it’s felt like the love affair between council executive and council members has been going through a rocky patch. To misquote another crooned lyric, they’re losing that loving feeling.

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The love is still there though. You can sense it. Like Chawke’s and cheese, they are clearly made for each other.

So maybe it’s time to rekindle the relationship. With open hearts and honest conversation, they could look longingly at one another and try to figure out where it all went wrong .

For the executive’s sake, I hope it works out. Because let me tell you, hell hath no wrath like a councillor sconed… scorned.

Passions flared at a special meeting in Dooradoyle last Thursday when Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely hit out that the Council hadn’t reached out to share some big news with her.

Overworked and under-appreciated, the councillor tore strips off the top brass for not first notifying local representatives regarding plans to assemble a team to transform the Arthur’s Quay area of the city.

I mean, forget about sending flowers and chocolates. Maybe sending a memo would suffice?

By the way, councillors, the World Cup kicked off in Qatar at the weekend, and Ireland aren’t in it. Just in case, like!

Kiely felt that councillors are always the last to know what the Council are up to and have to bed down with those tramps in the local press, with their low morals and wicked ways, if they are to stay abreast of things.

The embers of love are still there though, deep down, as was evident in the council chamber during a beautiful, heartwarming moment when Cllr Kiely expressed her true feelings for the local authority, noting how she really sees them as superheroes.

“Ye are like the Avengers assembling a team. I had to hear it on Live 95. Not from an area briefing, but a media outfit,” she cooed, like a dove struck in the throat by cupid’s fickle arrow.

Pouring her heart out to the executive, Cllr Kiely pointed out that councillors are often unaware what’s going on. (Tell us something we don’t know… Oh wait.)

Like something out of Home and Away or Eastenders, the councillor made out that they learn more from the media than the executive.

I hadn’t felt a lump like that in my throat since I first saw Kramer vs Kramer.

Cllr Dan McSweeney (FG) was also tuned into his feelings at the meeting, expressing doubts about a happy future together with Limerick City and County Council.

“I was disappointed we were not notified. If that is the respect and value you put on elected members, I question where we are going.”

The young Fine Gael man expressed his wishes to stay friends, pleading the executive to “keep in contact”.

Director of Planning Nuala Gallagher, like a wayward lover caught in the act, reassured councillors that they would never be purposely disrespected or taken for granted again.

“I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. I apologise for that,” she said.

Bob Hoskins was right. It is good to talk. And I really am glad to see the happy couple moving forward.

One thing has been nagging at me though.

Surely the same press releases sent to journalists are sent to councillors at the exact same time. Right? So, why after the send button is pressed are we getting them first? Ye do check the auld emails don’t ye councillors?

Psst, just in case ye didn’t know, Christmas is only weeks away, but don’t tell the executive I told you that.