Elected members should not be bullied, says councillor

Elected councillors attempting to halt the privatisation of refuse collection should not be bullied by officials, according to city councillor Colette Connolly.

Cllr Connolly made the comments following Monday’s city council meeting which saw elected members vote to seek independent legal opinion in relation to a Section 140 motion. The Labour councillor said she is “aghast that the city manager continues to show such utter contempt for the elected members”, and there was no reason why Brendan McGrath could not have circulated the legal advice prior to the meeting.

“The advice given is selective in that it quotes only part of the Section 140 - the city manager failed to issue a report to councillors himself as to why he considered the Section 140 illegal,” said Cllr Connolly, who added she accepts waste management is an executive function but that Section 140 specifically allows the elected members to direct the city manager in relation to the exercise of that executive function.

In this regard, Cllr Connolly says she tabled a motion under Section 132 which was accepted by the city manager, that the elected members be offered a second independent legal opinion on the legality of the exercise of Section 140 and non-compliance by the city manager in respect of same and also on the legality of the city manager invoking a Section 112, which makes councillors liable for any financial loss resulting from their decision.

“The privatisation of the refuse service will not necessarily result in a cheaper service for the public given the experience in Dublin, nor in greater efficiencies. Galway City Council failed to explain adequately to customers that the €229 annual bill would result in a rebate if the bins collected were lighter in refuse weight. In addition, the council has failed to publicise the bulky goods collection whereby the council will collect waste such as mattresses, beds, and sofas for a cost of between €6 and €50 from your doorstep.”

Cllr Connolly said that the city manager failed to explain the position of the council if no acceptable tender is found.

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