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Sinn Féin Cllr hits out at rise of ‘Trumpism’ in council chamber

Tomas Sharkey, Jim Tenanty
Sinn Fein councillor Tomas Sharkey and Independent councillor Jim Tenanty. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

A Louth County councillor accused one of his colleagues of ‘Trumpism’ at last night’s readjourned 2020 Budget meeting.

Sinn Féin councillor Tomas Sharkey made the comment towards Independent councillor Jim Tenanty who hit out at the councillors who attempted to take away just short of €29,000 from the Ardee Municipal District’s discretionary budget for 2021 at Monday’s aborted first attempt at passing the budget.

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Speaking on Thursday evening, Cllr Tenanty explained that in Ardee the councillors pool their money together to pay for or contribute towards larger projects in the mid-Louth area, rather than distribute the funds to individual councillors to spend as they please in their constituencies.

“We as a group work together, not as individuals, to divide out discretionary budget for whatever projects that will benefit all of mid-Louth – not just Ardee,” he said.

The Ardee-based councillor described Monday’s events as “a disgrace” and intimated that some councillors should not have voted the way they did to deny Ardee funds, and thus boost the coffers of the Dundalk Municipal District.

“I felt it was a disgrace. Some councillors voted and they shouldn’t have voted with the proposed amendment,” he said.

In response, Cllr Sharkey reacted angrily. “I think that oversteps the very ethos of what we do here,” he said. “We vote the way we do based on what we know and what we believe. Nobody can tell us what we should and shouldn’t vote on.

“That is Trumpism. We have to be careful with Trumpisms in this chamber.”

A Trumpism is not necessarily a kind of phrase associated with soon to be former US President Donald Trump. Trumpism can refer to the political ideology, style of governance political movement, and the set of mechanisms for acquiring and keeping power associated with Mr Trump.

The Cllr, also school principal of Coláiste Chú Chulainn in Dundalk, also told the meeting he would quit politics if there was not meaningful discussion in the new year regarding now the discretionary budget is distributed among the three districts operating within the local authority.

Those comments echoed those of Fianna Fáil councillor Conor Keelan who had earlier informed the meeting that he would leave politics should it become “controversial” to seek more funding for his area.

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