Durcan drags Taoiseach into planning row

Independent councillor Frank Durcan cast aspersions on An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and an a family in-law at this week’s Mayo County Council meeting as he addressed the chamber in regard to his ongoing row with Mayo County Council officials over planning issues. The February meeting of the council had to be adjourned after Cllr Durcan refused to back down on allegations he made in the chamber. There were fears that the March meeting of the council would descend into similar disarray. However when Cllr Durcan tried to raise the issue of the previous month’s meeting under the adoption of minutes, he was quickly shut down by Cathaoirleach, Cllr Austin Francis O’Malley, who informed the councillor there were no matters arising from the minutes on the agenda, so he would be moving the meeting forward.

However later on in the meeting things turned very heated and eventually farcical as Cllr Durcan and Fine Gael councillor Henry Kenny became involved in a shouting match across the chamber.

The councillors were dealing with an item to consider a draft programme for the preparation of development plans between 2012 and 2015. Cllr Durcan stated: “It’s a complete waste of money and time to prepare a development plan when the county manager can do what he wants rather than adhere to them.”

Cllr Durcan then asked how Tim Hastings Ltd was able to get planning permission on the N5 outside Westport back in 2004 only a few months after it had initially been turned down because it was contrary to the development plan. Cllr Durcan told the meeting: “We are talking about the Taoiseach’s brother in law and Cllr Kenny’s brother-in-law and I want to know what happened in the five months to change the county manager’s mind to grant planning permission.”

At this stage, Cllr Kenny jumped to his feet and pointed across at Cllr Durcan saying: “Don’t be involving me in this. I have listened long enough to this. Prove it and prove it in court.”

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