FF/FG alliance holds firm in Portlaoise

Sinn Féin was stopped from filling a Portlaoise Town Council seat vacated by Alan Hand earlier this year, at last week’s Town Council meeting.

Cllr Caroline Dwane had proposed Claire Spollen for the Town Council but it hit problems when a seconder was sought,

Cllr Jerry Lodge, Fianna Fáil, could not second the motion.

“I was asked to second the proposal by Cllr Dwane, but having discussed it with my colleague - I said I would have to discuss it before breaking ranks and I am withholding seconding the motion,” he said.

Cllr Lodge acknowledged the law that the party who looses a councillor is automatically entitled to chose a replacement.

Cllr Lodge said he was in a dilemma, as he had given his word to Cllr Dwane.

He proposed a meeting in the days after the Town Council meeting to formally propose a candidate.

But Mayor of Portlaoise, Wille Aird of Fine Gael, told Cllr Lodge that someone had been formally proposed and could not call a second meeting.

“I’m looking for a seconder,” he said.

Cllr Lodge publicly apologised to Cllr Dwane for not keeping his word.

“You either want to second the proposal or you don’t,” Cllr Aird told Cllr Lodge.

Cllr Dwane said Cllr Lodge was not alone at the meeting. But FF’s Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald and the two FG councillors - Matthew Keegan and Kathleen O’Brien did not speak.

The Mayor said he could not allow a discussion as the proposal had not been accepted.

“I’m very disappointed,” Cllr Dwane said.

Speaking last Friday, Cllr Fitzgerald said the SF candidate was not blocked.

“This was landed on us two minutes before the meeting. There was no approach made before that. It’s unusual that a party wouldn’t have canvassed before a meeting,” she said.

Cllr Fitzgerald accepted that the item was on the agenda, sent out on November 26, but she said it was SF should have done “their homework”. “I wasn’t asked, but if I was I would have to put it to my party,” she added.




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