Without being in the room, Sinn Féin become topic of conversation

Cllr Christy Hyland

Cllr Christy Hyland

Without even having an elected member in the room, Sinn Féin became a heated topic of debate at the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District AGM this week.

The party has only one elected member on Mayo County Council, Charlestown based Cllr Gerry Murray, who is based in the Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District.

However, Independent Cllr Christy Hyland, during the election of Cllr Brendan Mulroy (FF ) to the position of Cathaoirleach, brought up the Sinn Fein party and the fact that earlier that day, at the Mayo County Council AGM, Cllr Murray supported Fine Gael's proposal to elect Cllr Donna Sheridan (FG ) for the position of Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council.

Cllr Hyland hit out at the voting pact between the parties, which includes Cllr Murray supporting Fine Gael members in the votes for Cathaoirleach in the Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District - he focused in on Sinn Féin's refusal to last week in the Dáil to back the Special Criminal Court, when no TD from the party was in attendance in the Dáil chamber for a vote on extending the court.

He said: "Sinn Féin walked out of the Dáil and would not support another 12 months of the Special Criminal Court; we have peace now, but we have other new problems with gangland killings and thanks be to God, we have the Special Criminal Court.

"I was shocked and saddened to see a new alliance between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, it saddened me to see that today, but it is not the first time, I was shocked with what I saw."

Cllr Hyland went on to tell the meeting that he was surprised to see it, with the former Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in the past saying he would not have any dealings with them.

His comments irked Erris-based Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle, who engaged in a back-and-forth argument with Cllr Hyland before the meeting moved on.

Independent councillor John O'Malley also spoke about Sinn Féin at the meeting, while not discussing the vote that happened earlier in the day at the full council's AGM. He said the reason that Sinn Féin 'were riding high in opinion polls at the minute is that the government are failing working people'.

He said: "The reason that Sinn Féin are so strong is because this government is failing young working class people. I spoke to a woman who told me her son and partner are paying €3,000 a month in rent in Dublin at the minute and that is a big issue. If this government don't do something for the young people, Sinn Féin will take over after the next election. You're not getting any benefit from going to work and unless this changes, we are in for trouble because Sinn Féin will take over."


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