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Tuesday, 5th February 2019

Councillors denied chance to support striking nurses

Front Page

Councillor Joanna Byrne, whose motion expressing solidarity with the striking nurses at last night's Drogheda Borough District was not allowed, pictured along side SF party colleague Imedla Munster TD on the picket line with INMO members.

"I didn’t even see that motion on the agenda" - Godfrey

Unlike several recent meetings of Drogheda Borough District last night’s was quite uneventful with more mundane topics being discussed by the Councillors who were by and large in good humour and business-like.

The only point of contention came just as the Chairman, Mayor Frank Godfrey brought proceedings to a close just a minute or two after the scheduled cessation time of 8.00 pm.

This brought howls of protest from the three Sinn Féin Councillors, especially Councillor Joann Byrne who had tabled a motion, which had not at that stage been reached, calling on the Council to send a message pf support and solidarity with the striking nurses and midwives.

Also very annoyed were members of the public in the gallery one of whom accused the mayor of counting down the clock deliberately so that Cllr, Byrne’s motion would not be discussed or voted on.

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Drogheda Life spoke to Mayor Godfrey today and he said that he had no problem suspending standing orders to give everyone the chance to say what they have to say but, he said he was conscious of the fact that the Council staff present are working from early morning until 8.00 pm.

“In the past I have often given an extra 10 or 15 minutes to allow members have their say, and I’ve been out protesting with the nurses at both gates of the hospital and I’ve also been talking with management.

“We’re all concerned about what is happening but individually we can only do what we can, but it is really a matter for the government, the Taoiseach and Minister for Heath to deal with it.

“I would have no problems letting them speak but they seem to have taken issue with me and they’re obviously not happy that I didn’t let them in.

“The fact is though that I didn’t even see that motion on the agenda (it was on the second page) because I’ve been so busy over the last week or two. If they had said it to me beforehand I would have allowed it and I would also have put one of my own motions aside if necessary.”

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