Council Affairs: Pull up them socks or else

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

A WISE man once said that “politicians who wear little tennis socks with the balls at the back should not be taken seriously”.

Now, maybe they weren’t so wise, but socks have definitely come up for discussion a couple of times in the chambers of Limerick City and County Council in recent months.

Most recently Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely who requested that the fine folk at University of Limerick put theirs up.

The university, the City East representative maintains, operates in its own little bubble, does whatever it likes, and answers to no one. Strong words indeed.

Cllr Kiely urged council management at the monthly Metropolitan meeting to write a Dear Kerstin letter, urging the UL president to provide a central point of contact for councillors and council employees to ensure effective action on outstanding issues, or else.

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If such a point of contact isn’t forthcoming, Cllr Kiely is of the opinion that the local authority needs to start giving the Plassey crew the cold-shoulder and not play with them anymore.

The Council, she suggested, should withdraw all cooperation with the university until it pulls up its polka dot thigh-highs, saying that she was not at all happy with the level of engagement between UL and the local authority.

It was only last July when Cllr Kiely first threw her toys out of the pram over a previous perceived UL brush off, suggested yet again that her Metropolitan District colleagues don’t play ball with their requests to the council until her demands were met.

As it turned out, UL had Kiely’s number – her phone number – and decided to give her a bell after her July ultimatum. So, in fairness, they probably aren’t as “useful as a chocolate teapot” as she suggested.

“I got a call from a person from UL to see how we can work together to resolve things. On that call I outlined the issues we, as a local authority and as councillors, are having with UL. It was acknowledged by that person there were issues, it was also acknowledged that the lines of communication were not as they should be,” she said.

At the time, UL managed to soothe the savage beast in Cllr Kiely and lead her to believe it was going to provide a point of contact who had access to a “decision-maker” to progress requests from councillors.

Looks now like UL didn’t keep good to their promise and they just pushed Cllr Kiely closer to the edge and now she’s as yipped up as Cocaine Bear at a rehab clinic.

More furious even then she was a number of months back when she said that “UL are something to behold now when it comes to engagement. I have never in my life came across a more useless organisation when you try speak to someone in charge, or try and get some sort of a result, or even try and highlight something.”

“If they don’t start playing ball, we shouldn’t be playing ball with them at all. Mutual respect is needed in any workplace.”

“They either pull up their socks or we start playing hardball when it comes to their requests that come through our area here.”

It might be time to get UL into the council chamber and wash those dirty socks in public – for the entertainment value if nothing else.