Louth County Council are looking into launching an investigation after an unseemly incident occured at the May monthly meeting of the Ardee Municipal District committee which saw one councillor walk out on the meeting after a heated exchanged with a colleague.
The exchange took place on Thursday evening when during a discussion about sewage and odour in the River Dee, Ardee Municipal District cathoairleach Dolores Minogue clashed with Cllr Jim Tenanty. It ended with Independent councillor Tenanty refusing to partake further in the meeting and leaving the building.
In the middle of a seemingly innocuous discussion about the River Dee issue, the councillors disagreed on what council members were present at one-to-one meetings held with Irish Water in relation to the sewage and odour. It was then things flared up.
The councillors talked over each other in making their argument before Minogue told Tenanty that she was the chair and he had his time to speak. At this point Tenanty got up to leave the table before Minogue made a remark that suggested Tenanty was a deliberate disruption to Ardee Municipal meetings and to herself specifically. Minogue is the sole female councillor on the six strong committee.
At that point, Cllr Tenanty left the table and departed. After remarks from Minogue’s Fine Gael party colleague Colm Markey and Sinn Fein councillor Pearse McGeough, the meeting continued.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Markey commented that if an allegation pertaining to gender discrimination was made against a councillor, an investigation should be launched – whilst also saying he felt it “most inappropriate to make the remarks unfounded.”
“If there’s an inference, perhaps there should be an investigation. I don’t think the allegation should be made and no investigation had,” Markey said. “Any suggestion of gender discrimination at this or previous meetings, in the interests of all involved should be investigated.”
Markey, who is Vice-chair of the Ardee Municipal District committee, proposed that the Meetings Administrator refer the issue to a protocol committee for investigation. Before the meeting concluded, Minogue said that she was “let down by a certain councillor. I didn’t look for that. I’m not going to be a victim.”
“I try to treat every chair with the respect they deserve,” McGeough said. “I respect my chairperson’s position.”
ThisIsArdee.ie understands that Louth County Council are now in the process of looking for the appropriate mechanism for the investigation. The local authority will likely assess if Tenanty has a case to answer to first – before proceeding further.