Council Affairs: Rolls can get stuffed

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

THEY can be a contrary lot Limerick’s councillors. There’s no pleasing them and you can be sure they would do their best to find something to give out about if they ever did find themselves however briefly pleased.

By all accounts, they bemoaned their woes at the November meeting of Limerick City and County Council when the Christmas dinner dished out to them, saying it was too cold and certainly not as good as what mammy makes. Notions or what?

When elected officials can find time to complain about the taste of a free lunch, you really do have to wonder if they see themselves at all.

But, of course, why change the habit of a lifetime?

It was certainly clear at the full January meeting of the local authority that none of the 40 elected representatives had made a New Year’s resolution to hold their whisht for 2024. Or if they did, these melts didn’t get very far with it.

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Instead, they decided to keep the age-old local authority tradition of mithering and bellyaching alive by complaining about having a roll call at the start of their meetings.

In fairness to them, who has the will and the time to confirm their presence before getting down to a packed agenda?

Keep them in your prayers, folks. Maybe even light a candle for them. Our poor auld pothole pointers have it very hard indeed.

I’m going to say a Novena for them myself to ask the Blessed Virgin to keep them safe and give them the strength needed to both remember and confirm what their names are.

I too have to sit through this laborious roll call, so I do feel their pain and have nothing but empathy for them.

As the monthly meeting got going, the cries of ‘present’, ‘online’, ‘anseo’, and ‘I’m here’ echoing around the chamber were certainly not music to the ears of one irate councillor, who was fed up with the pandemic-era rule that introduced the roll call instead of the old faithful pen and paper sign-in book.

“Mayor, can I ask, just in fairness, I think since Covid we have moved on. Can we not reimplement our entry book at the door, rather than going through a full roll every-time we have a meeting?” Fine Gael councillor Liam Galvin pleaded.

“It sounds ridiculous to call out everyone’s name and we sitting down here in front of ye. It’s only a small thing, but I think it is not fair to have you call out 40 names every day,” the Abbeyfeale man said, gesturing towards senior executive officer Laura Flannery.

“Put our book back at the door there and we will sign in as we always did. And the people online, if they want to, you can do a roll call with them, if you want – the ones that don’t bother coming to the meetings.”

“We can consider it,” Ms Flannery replied. “However – ”

Wouldn’t you know there would be a “however”.

“However, it is important for people who are online to know who’s in the chamber, but we certainly can consider it and we will look into it.”

Cllr Galvin still wasn’t happy, hitting back with a “Laura, if they wanted that they would be here as well”.

Hopefully the council will be able to lighten Cllr Galvin’s load. It’s bad enough him having to drive in all the way from West Limerick just to confirm his name and rank.

You couldn’t be keeping up with these councillors, I’m telling you. It’s their mothers I blame. Too much mollycoddling!