‘I don’t want Crowe as mediator,’ says Conneely after another stalemate

The stalemate between Cllr Padraig Conneely and City Hall remains this morning after a proposed mediation session failed to take place yesterday.

At Monday evening’s failed council meeting, the Fine Gael councillor agreed to mediation beginning yesterday morning. However, Cllr Conneely is criticizing the councils attempt to propose Galway city mayor Michael Crowe as the mediator.

Councillor Conneely said he received a phone call from city manager Joe O’Neill to instruct him that the mayor had been appointed as mediator by Monday evening’s acting Mayor Peter Keane.

“It is not up to Peter Keane to nominate a mediator,” he said. “I’ll nominate someone and City Hall will nominate someone and we’ll see who we agree on, I certainly won’t be rushing into anything..

Councillor Conneely indicated that a request from officials for him to make a public apology must be struck off the list of demands before he enters the war room with any mediator.

Tensions were high on Monday evening as acting mayor Peter Keane accused Councillor Conneely of “holding the city to ransom”. During an outburst Conneely made demands to officials at City Hall “I have a democratic mandate elected by the people. I demand that services be returned to me, and my right to represent the people as an elected official be upheld.

“They’re refusing me my elected mandate”, he said. “No official of Galway city council will silence me in this council or outside this council.”

Acting mayor Peter Keane did not take to kindly to Councillor Conneely’s behaviour and requested him to sit down and respect the chair.

Despite attempts to resolve the stalemate both within and outside the chamber there has so far been little progress made.

Cllr Conneely made an accusation that four members of City Hall were the people who were holding the city to ransom. However, City manager Joe O’Neill, one of those mentioned, indicated that he had not received any response to a letter he presented to Councillor Conneely last month.

Yet another violent outburst followed as Councillor Conneely outlined how he has been prevented from any communications with City Hall; “How can I communicate to you, when your receptionist won’t accept letters from me,” he said.

A proposal to adjourn the meeting for 15 minutes was followed by a quip from a contented Conneely; “They can adjourn all they like,” he said.

Monday evening’s meeting was the second time representatives from the NRA had travelled from Dublin to make a presentation, which was halted by the internal chamber politics. Councillor Conneely rejected claims from councillors that he was responsible for preventing the presentation from being made.

Despite the Fine Gael councillor’s insistence in standing his ground, he agreed to begin mediation with city officials yesterday morning.

The standoff between city managers and Conneely has prevented the last three city council meetings from taking place, and has put the City Development Plan at risk.

It is unknown whether any resolution will be made in time for a special ceremonial meeting of Galway City Council tomorrow (Friday ).

 

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