To meet or not to meet, that is the question for Ballina councillors

Despite agreeing at the December meeting of the Ballina Electoral Area Committee that the committee would hold monthly meetings from now on rather than the bi-monthly meeting schedule that they had been using, actually agreeing to do so caused problems yesterday. At the February meeting of the committee, there was an item on the agenda to set the day and time each month that the committee would meeting.

Chairperson of the committee Cllr Seamus Weir told the meeting that he thinks they should meet on the first Thursday of each month. However both Cllr Annie May Reape and Cllr Gerry Ginty asked if there was any real need to have a meeting each month as an agenda can be light at times even on a bi-monthly basis. Cllr Weir suggested that if there was no immediate need to hold a meeting each month, they could cancel one and roll it into the next meeting. Cllr Ginty questioned as to what would be the exact process for doing this and what reasons would be used not to hold a meeting as it was agreed to hold a monthly meeting at the item they were dealing with, was to set the date and time for the meeting.

The meetings had previously been held on the first Monday of the month, however Cllr Weir said that he needed to change it for personal reasons and that it would also suit the press better. The members asked director of services for the area, Paddy Mahon, for his input. Mr Mahon said that his and the council officials’ position had not changed since the previous meeting where they said that they did not see the need for the monthly meeting. He said that if an important issue arose the members could call a special meeting if needed. He also said that the council officials would find it difficult to have a full complement of officials at a monthly meeting as their resources were stretched and would be more so in the future.

The members eventually agreed to hold a monthly meeting, with Cllr Ginty suggesting a trial period of six months.

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