My 1st motion at today’s full Council meeting was an adjourned motion from last months meeting:
“That the members be allowed to put forward motions to full council that do not relate to council functions.”
Unfortunately only 8 of my colleagues supported the motion so it was not carried. I would like to thank Councillors Pender, McLoughlin Healy, Clear, Leigh, Farrelly, Killeen, Moore and Cussen for supporting the motion.
Earlier this year I had a motion disallowed that if agreed by the members, Kildare County Council would have joined a growing list of Councils on this Island that have called on the Office of Public works to carry out the necessary excavation works to recover the remains of Joe Brady, Daniel Curley, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey and Tim Kelly, in what is commonly known as the Invincibles Yard at Kilmainham Gaol. The bodies of these five members of the Irish National Invincibles lie beneath the paving slabs of the yard where they were executed in 1883 for their part in the Phoenix Park assassinations. The families of the five men are represented by the National Graves Association and the wish of the families is for their relatives to be exhumed from Kilmainham Gaol and reinterred in consecrated ground at Glasnevin Cemetery. This motion was passed by Cork and Mayo County Councils last week, there are now at least twelve Councils that have passed similar motions.
At the beginning of the year we saw several Councils passing motions to write to the Government asking them not to commemorate the Black and Tans. And it hasn’t always been about our history, but our future too. There have been motions asking for the Council to write to the HSE about Naas hospital, another calling on the government to recognise that Parental Alienation is “Substantial and sustained dissatisfaction within a caregiver – child relationship associated with significant disturbance in functioning”, another expressing support for striking Nurses and Midwives and other motions relating to the flying of flags as symbols of solidarity to countries like Palestine and Catalonia in their struggle for self determination.
The stand out motion for me was the motion from Cllr Cussen that the council write to the Government asking that all Councils waive fees for burial plots for Children and that a national funeral fund be established. Many councillors bemoan the erosion of Local Government and I asked that we still be allowed to make suggestions to Central Government in an official capacity.
There have been motions at various councils around the country over the years that have been a catalyst for social change. I did not ask that everyone agree with the causes I have mentioned, but I did ask that our rights as public representatives be respected and that each of us be allowed to bring forward motions not relating to council functions if we feel that it is the right thing to do.
Unfortunately 26 other Councillors did not agree with me.
My 2nd motion at todays Full Council Meeting was:
“That Standing Orders be amended to allow a roll call vote to be requested by any 5 members”
Unfortunately only 9 of my colleagues supported the motion so it was not carried. I would like to thank Councillors Clear, Leigh, McLoughlin Healy, Cussen, Farrelly, Heavey, Galvin, Pender and Hamilton for their support.
I sought support to reduce the number of members required to request a roll call vote. Currently 11 members out of the 40 are required to allow a roll call vote to take place. Roll call votes are important to ensure transparency. A roll call vote has been requested less than once per meeting in the last year. There should be no shame in letting the public know how we vote. The different parties and independents on the council represent various different sections of the electorate. I respect their democratic right to vote as they wish but we should not hide it from the public.
20 Councillors voted against my motion which would have increased transparency for those members of the public that don’t attend Council meetings .