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South Dublin Mayor accused of censorship

14 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Tallaght Councillor Cathal King has accused Mayor of South Dublin County Council Fine Gael's Therese Ridge of censorship after she personally intervened to prevent a motion on Irish re-unification from being discussed at Monday's meeting of the Council.

Councillor King said:

"Last week the Fine Gael Mayor of South Dublin County Council personally intervened to prevent a motion on Irish re-unification from being discussed at this weeks meeting of the Council.  It is very disturbing that the Mayor has acted in such a party political fashion and goes against the normal practice whereby a wide variety of issues are discussed by Councillors week in and week out.

"The motion had been accepted as a proper motion by the previous Mayor and it is only following Mayor Ridge's intervention that it was taken off the agenda for this meeting.  The excuse used was that motions should 'relate to the reserved functions and policy matters of the Council'.  However if this rule was to applied across the board then a motion on healthcare which has been submitted by Mayor Ridge for discussion at this weeks meeting should not be taken.

"If this Council is to truly represent the people who elect us then we can't act as if we live in a cocoon.  Decisions are taken every day by the government, by the other councils across Dublin and by many other groups, businesses and organisations which have a direct impact on the lives of people right across this council area.  It is our duty as elected representatives to use our collective voice to the best advantage - not just on the limited range of issues which the Council is responsible for but on key issues which affect the lives of the people we represent.

"It will be lost on nobody that Mayor Ridge took this decision in the same week that there is so much debate internationally in relation to freedom of speech.  And indeed the timing of her decision also co-incided with the government announcement on its plans to commemorate the 1916 Rising .  I passionately believe that this Council should be discussing all of the issues of concern to the people of Dublin.  We should also be discussing our own plans to commemorate the Rising.  I believe that we should be discussing what we can do to improve the lives of all of the people who live within this Council area to make the demands of the 1916 leaders a reality.  That includes calling on the Irish government to begin preparations for Irish re-unification - something which is in the best interests of all of the people of the island."ENDS

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