Connolly defends her attendance record in face of column allegations

Labour councillor Colette Connolly has refuted allegations regarding her attendance at meetings as “appalling and totally untrue..”

Speaking about statements made in last week’s Grassroots column, the Shantalla councillor said that the continued pronouncements and judgements of whether she will be elected or not are just risible and can be dismissed as evidence of the obvious desperation on the part of the author.

“The allegation that I receive three Chairs allowances and yet somehow do not find the time to attend Council meetings is quite appalling and totally untrue. In relation to the initial difficulty I had in attending Council meetings at 4pm following the Council’s decision to change meeting times from 7pm to 4pm - this has long been resolved and obviously the Insider doesn’t come early enough in the Chamber to note my 4pm arrival! I can’t ever recall missing a single crucial debate but then one’s determination of what is a ‘crucial debate’ is highly subjective.

She said that no mention is ever made of the fact that she has religiously stayed to the conclusion of every Council meeting, some of which go on for four to five hours and indeed all sub-committee meetings many of which last three hours and more.

“I have always attended scheduled meetings of the Council since I was elected in 2004, with I think the notable exception of a couple of additional special meetings – a standard that would be difficult for any councillor or candidate to follow.

”As Chair of the City Development Board since 2004, Housing Strategic Policy SPC and Chair of Vocational Educational Authority, I would like to point out that I have an excellent attendance, having missed only one VEC meeting in five years!

“In total I sit on 11 committees, am Chair of four, Vice Chair of the Joint Policing Committee and a member of seven subcommittees, six of the committees meet monthly and more frequently as required; the others are quarterly with additional meetings as required. One has to wonder whether it is the fact that, as the first ever woman Chair of the CDB and VEC is what is particularly aggravating to the anonymous candidate or is it that they are particularly perturbed by the fact that the only people I serve on those committees is the people of Galway.

“It is a great pity that the Insider, instead of attacking my particular ‘attitude’ does ot address the serious issues that face city councillors in their attempt to improve and

deliver on services to the citizens of Galway and that is the severe lack of funding by central government, the consequent appalling lack of enforcement, particularly in relation to

planning issues, but more importantly in relation to the inaction of the Council in relation to very severe anti-social behaviour on many estates that causes utter distress and

misery to hard working decent people who are left to defend themselves, and the failure of the Council to make Galway a child and pedestrian friendly city,” she concluded.

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