05 Oct 2022

Who got what? Newly elected Laois councillors divide up 83 committee roles

Newly elected Laois councillors appointed to 83 committee roles

Newly elected Laois County Councillors Picture: Michael Scully

The 19 newly elected Laois county councillors were appointed to 83 different positions on committees at the AGM last Friday.

The 13 members appointed to the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) are FF's Padraig Fleming, Paddy Bracken, Catherine Fitzgerald, Seamus McDonald and Paschal McEvoy, FG's John King, Tom Mulhall, Thomasina Connell, Conor Bergin and Aisling Moran from Fine Gael and Sinn Fein's Aidan Mullins and Caroline Dwane Stanley alongside Independent Ben Brennan.

John King, Tom Mulhall, Thomasina Connell, Conor Bergin and Aisling Moran. The JPC is a committee between An Garda Síochána, Local Authorities and elected local representatives and deals with crime issues.

Seven members were appointed to the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultive Committee, FG's Mary Sweeney, John King and Tom Mulhall, FF's Paddy Bracken, Paschal McEvoy, Catherine Fitzgerald and Independent James Kelly.

Six members were appointed to the Placenames Committee, Catherine Fitzgerald, Paddy Bracken, Mary Sweeney, John King, Tom Mulhall and Aisling Moran.

Six members on the Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board are Mary Sweeney, Willie Aird, John King, Catherine Fitzgerald, Padraig Fleming and Caroline Dwane Stanley. Four Chairs of the Strategic Policy Committees are Paddy Bracken, Thomasina Connell, Conor Bergin and John King.

Three members appointed as delegates to the Association of Irish Local Government are John Joe Fennelly, John King and Aisling Moran. Paschal McEvoy, Conor Bergin, and John King were appointed to the Local Community Development Committee.

John Joe Fennelly withdrew his nomination for the Laois Arts Theatre (Dunamaise Arts Centre) to give it to Labour's Noel Tuohy alongside Mary Sweeney and Thomasina Connell.

Three members appointed to the board of Portarlington Leisure Centre are Padraig Fleming, Aidan Mullins and Tom Mulhall. Three members to the Portlaoise Leisure Centre are Thomasina Connell, Noel Tuohy and Catherine Fitzgerald.

Three members to Portlaoise Enterprise Centre are John Joe Fennelly, Willie Aird and Mary Sweeney. Three members for the Kyletaleisha Monitoring Committee are Paddy Bracken, Thomasina Connell and Aisling Moran. Questions were raised about this committee as there was no clarification on whether it had met in the last year or not. Director of Services Donal Brennan said it is a valuable committee for residents in the area whether they meet or not.

Padraig Fleming, Tom Mulhall, and Conor Bergin were appointed to the Rural Water Monitoring Committee.

Two members to Laois Partnership Company are Padraig Fleming and Tom Mulhall.

The technical group made up of James Kelly, Caroline Dwane Stanley, Ben Brennan and Aidan Mullins fought for Mullins' place on the Portarlington Enterprise Centre and Paschal McEvoy withdrew his nomination in favour of Aidan Mullins.

Three members were appointed to the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum Padraig Fleming, Paschal McEvoy and Thomasina Connell. Padraig Fleming and Willie Aird are on the Heritage Forum while Catherine Fitzgerald and Aisling Moran are on the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly.

Catherine Fitzgerald and Mary Sweeney were appointed to Laois Advocacy Against Domestic Abuse.
Padraig Fleming and Aisling Moran are on the Audit Committee.

Tom Mulhall will attend the AGM of Irish Public Bodies Insurance Ltd while John Joe Fennelly was appointed to the board of Abbeyleix Heritage Trust.

A technical group made up of Independent councillors James Kelly and Ben Brennan, with Sinn Fein’s Aidan Mullins and Caroline Dwane Stanley, fought it out at the AGM for spaces on committees.
Ahead of the appointment of roles, which were mostly being split between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil who share 13 of the 19 council seats, Cllr Dwane Stanley called for “fairness.”

“I would like to propose that the council would implement what is called the D'Hondt system, basically it’s the rotation of the positions to acknowledge and recognise the proportion of electoral strength of everybody including Labour, Sinn Fein and the Independents in the technical group.

“There are 19 councillors elected to this chamber on a vote of 23,620 first preference votes. Out of the technical group we secured 7,767 first preference votes, that’s 33% of the vote that we secured and I am asking today, unlike the last five years, the technical group were completely sidelined and I am asking that for the two bigger parties that they implement a bit of fairness and transparency and acknowledge and respect the democratic vote that we have on this side of the house,” she said.

If the technical group had five members it would have had more pull in securing seats but Labour’s Noel Tuohy was absent from the meeting and Independent Ollie Clooney did not join the technical group.

Members of the technical group secured nine seats on committees including three for Noel Tuohy. This makes up 10% of the roles. The other 90% were divided between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Fine Gael, which is now the majority party, took 43 positions on committees while Fianna Fáil claimed 31.

MORE: New faces on Laois County Council - new council breakdown confirmed

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