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15 Aug 2022

Councillor challenges Council's selection of members to board of development partnership

Councillor challenges Council's selection of members to board of development partnership

councillor challange

A High Court action has been brought against the method used by Kerry County Council to select two elected councillors to the board of a local community development partnership.

The action has been brought by Independent Councillor Charlie Farrelly, who claims that the procedure used in respect of the nomination of two members to the board of the North, East, and West Kerry Development Partnership is flawed and should be set aside.

Represented by Elizabeth Murphy Bl Cllr Farrelly, who represents the Castleisland Local Electoral Area in Kerry, claims that last November the council was to select two councillors to go on the Partnership's board.

The partnership is a community initiative involved in rural development, set up under the EU Leader programme.

The candidates, he claims should have been selected by the elected members using what is known as the Group Voting System, a method designed to ensure minority bloc representation on certain bodies.

He claims that this process involves elected members forming groups to nominate board members to the partnership, with the members of a successful nominating group being excluded from successive groups.

He claims that it was unlawful not to use the Group Voting System, and the Council should not have used individual voting to select the two nominees.

In this process Cll Farrelly claims that no groups were formed, which had the effect of the same majority of councillors on Kerry County Council successively appointed both members to the partnership's board and the minority member's votes being rendered ineffective.

He says that the Council officials say that it was entitled to select members for the board in the manner it did. However, Cllr Farrelly disputes this.

As a result, Cllr Farrelly has brought proceedings against Kerry County Council and the Partnership where he seeks various declarations and orders.

These include an order quashing the council's purported appointment last November of two members to the partnership's board, and that at its next the council select two members to go on the board.

Cllr Farrelly also seeks various declarations including that the procedures adopted by the council regarding the two members nomination to the partnership's board was contrary to statute, were void, unlawful and contrary to fair procedures.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

The judge also placed a stay on the council's appointments to the partnership's board. 

The Judge said that he would entertain any application by the respondent to lift that stay once it was made on notice to Cllr Farrelly's lawyers.

The matter was adjourned to a date in March.  

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