Two members of Cashel Town Council became involved in a furious row at their monthly meeting after one of them criticised two recently-elected TDs.
Cllr. Sean McCarthy didn’t name the non-party TDs but said he looked at them with a mixture of “amazement and disgust” and accused them of sullying the whole profession of politics in Ireland.
He said he was a member of Staid le Cheile, a group that worked to combat drug misuse among the young, but one of the new members of the Dail didn’t deny that he grew and cultivated cannabis for his own use. This was illegal and his admission brought the members of the Dail into disrepute, and could you imagine the impact it would have on young people, he asked. This was unfortunate because we asked the youth to look at our legislators to set a standard.
There was another individual in the new Dail who had borrowed multi-millions from one of our banking institutions, said Cllr. McCarthy. If this person hadn’t paid the money back then he should be declared bankrupt.
And to think of the furore that surrounded the late Tony Gregory for not wearing a tie in the Dail many years ago, said Cllr. McCarthy, who suggested that the committee for privileges and procedures would deal with these new TDs to see if they were committing any alleged offences.
Cllr. McCarthy, who said he was successful in four of the six general elections in which he stood, said we were used to dealing with people who were decent and tried to set high standards.
However Cllr. Martin Browne said he didn’t think the second person referred to by Cllr. McCarthy was guilty of anything. He was in financial difficulty but so was half the country.
Cllr. Browne said that Cllr. McCarthy’s close friend and colleague, Michael Fingleton, the former chairman and chief executive of the Irish Nationwide Building Society, was one of those involved in all of this.
Cllr. Browne said that Cllr. McCarthy would want to be careful about castigating people. One of the TDs he referred to had created hundreds of jobs over the years and was elected by the people of Wexford. Just because he was down on his luck we were supposed to lock him up.
He didn’t recall Cllr. McCarthy passing comment on his friend Mr. Fingleton.
Cllr. McCarthy said Cllr. Browne seemed to know more about his friends than he himself did. He admitted he knew Mr. Fingleton and had gone to matches with him. He made a lot of mistakes, Cllr. McCarthy said.
However he was always extremely lenient with anyone in this area who found themselves in financial difficulty, when contacted by Cllr. McCarthy. He didn’t condone Mr. Fingleton’s irresponsible lending.
Cllr.McCarthy said that Cllr. Browne seemed to have a file on everyone. He said he should exercise a file on himself.
“I’m warning you, lay off me”, replied Cllr. Browne, who said he could give Cllr. McCarthy a history lesson.
“I was good enough to canvass the country for you at one time. You closed the hospital and the Tipperary hospital, you’re a disgrace to this town”, said Cllr. Browne.
“I’m not afraid of this man”, said Cllr. McCarthy.
The Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Maribel Wood - deputising for the Mayor, Cllr. Michael Browne, who was absent through illness - wished the new government well and hoped they would work with the people and for the people.