There were heated scenes this week in the council chamber at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council. Independent Cathaoirleach Councillor Michael Burke was forced to call time on Independent councillor Frank Durcan a number of times after Cllr Durcan refused to stop speaking despite repeatedly being told by the Cathaoirleach he had gone over his allotted time.
The Independent Castlebar-based councillor was outlining the high numbers of managers that the council employed compared to the lower ranking members of staff. Among the information that Cllr Durcan outlined to the elected members was that there is one staff officer in the council for every 1.4 clerical officers and that the council employed seven architects, 16 planners, and 75 engineers and, despite that large number, the design of the new footbridge in Castlebar had been tendered out to an outside company. He also outlined that the council paid €28,185 in travel expenses to one employee in 2008.
The Cathaoirleach called time on Cllr Durcan, but despite repeated warnings for him to stop, Cllr Durcan continued to reel off figures which he had obtained from the council over the course of the year. Fine Gael councillor Eddie Staunton got involved in the conflict, telling Cllr Durcan he was out of order by not listening to the Cathaoirleach. Cllr Durcan then hit back at Cllr Staunton saying, “you abused the system more than anybody in this council”. Cllr Durcan was repeatedly asked to withdraw his comment, which he refused to do initially, but did when he was asked to by Cllr Al McDonnell.