In the process of praising the success of the Great Western Greenway at the LAMA awards last weekend, Fianna Fáil councillor Al McDonnell told Monday’s Mayo County Council meeting that people should bear in mind that the idea for the Greenway came about from two study trips the councillors made to the Lake District in England and to Scotland.
Cllr McDonnell stated that had the councillors and officials not travelled to those destinations, there probably would not be a Greenway, adding that it was their ‘moral and civic duty’ to conduct such study tours. Cllr McDonnell further stated there was too much negativity about councillors’ travel and attendance at conferences.
Independent councillor Gerry Ginty disagreed.
“I don’t actually think we would have not got anything like this if we didn’t go on these trips. I will not ever question the right of the chairman to go and represent the county, that is what he is supposed to do – but it’s the other waste. They are talking about abolishing town councils and merging county councils. When you go on about things like this you are just giving the people who want to do that even more ammunition to prove they are right”, he said.
Independent councillor Richard Finn hit back saying: “It amazes me to hear people who are double-jobbing standing up in this chamber and talking about councillors’ expenses. When you have people on town councils and county councils, I see no reason that you should draw a salary from both of them.”
Cllr Ginty retorted: “I’ve been accused of double-jobbing here. I am in the privileged position of representing the people of Ballina on both the town council and the county council. You would do well to know that you can only draw a salary from one, not both, as I’m sure the manager can confirm.” Director of services for Mayo County Council Joe Loftus then confirmed this to the meeting.