Mayo County Council paid tribute to the late South African president Nelson Mandela by holding a minute’s silence at the start of its December meeting and a number of members paid tribute to the former South African president.
Fine Gael whip, Joe Mellet, proposed the minute’s silence as a mark of respect to Mandela to remember “his long life of forgiveness and caring, while working to make South Africa free”.
Mellett’s motion was seconded by Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael McNamara, while Sinn Féin Cllr Rose Conway Walsh paid tribute to Mandela, saying that we could all learn a lot from him and how he lived, but commented on the number of people in the world paying tribute to him now, who would have once called him a terrorist.
Independent Cllr Gerry Ginty recalled how more than 20 years ago, when a member of Ballina Urban District Council, he proposed a motion calling for boycott of South African goods, because of the apartheid regime and received no support. He said that he had been a long term supporter of the ANC, but that he was sad to see the people who have followed Mandela since he stepped down have not lived up to the ideals he set, and where there was once just a white elite, now they are creating a elite level amongst the black population alongside the white population and leaving millions still in poverty.