Thurles Town Council has formally adopted a Notice of Motion which provides for fifteen minutes of free parking grace to motorists in The Cathedral Town.
However, an attempt to re-introduce a motion debated at last months meeting calling for two hours of free parking on Saturday’s, was ruled out of order.
The latest Notice of Motion signed by what Cllr Noel Dwyer dubbed ‘the heavy hitters’ - Cllrs Michael Cleary, Michael Grogan, John Kenehan, John Kennedy and Evelyn Nevin - had no opposition, but when Cllr Jim Ryan called for a suspension of Standing Orders to allow for the re-introduction of the motion he had tabled four weeks earlier, matters became decidedly heated.
Cllr Ryan had been informed by the executive - Town Clerk Mr Michael Ryan and Manager Mr Matt Shortt - that such a move was not in order. However, the Independent councillor claimed to have received legal advice on the matter and was adamant that his actions were in order.
Mr Shortt, however, poured cold water on Cllr Ryan’s legal opinion and informed the members that ‘we are the executive, we provide you with the legal opinion and we are telling you that what Cllr Ryan is proposing is out of order and won’t be accepted.”
According to Standing Orders, a motion which has been debated cannot be re-introduced to the chamber for another six months.
Cllr John Kenehan, who was not present at the last meeting and therefore did not contribute to the debate, was rounded on by Cllr Ryan when he stated that free parking is provided in the town each and every Sunday - a day which has become much more popular with shoppers, especially during the time of the Celtic Tiger, he said.
However, Cllr Ryan took issue with his comments and said, “Are you for real? To suggest opening on a Sunday so that shopkeepers can avail of free parking only goes to show how niaive and lacking in knowledge you are. Do you know what goes on the real world? I am an accountant in this town and I know for a fact that businesses are barely surviving. You are now suggesting that they should pay double time on Sunday’s to their staff just to avail of free parking. This is the biggest insult to shopkeepers - you should know better than anyone as a trade union official, what the pay rates for Sunday’s are,” an angry Cllr Ryan said.
Cllr Kenehan took exception to ‘the personal attack’ from Cllr Ryan and said that he had only related the facts in his contribution on the motion before them. He asked him to withdraw them but he refused. Cllr Noel Dwyer described the Notice of Motion as “comedic and pathetic” and said that it was farcical that it took five councillors to seek an extra five minutes grace for motorists. Attempts to ammend the motion by Cllrs Ryan and Doran also failed as the executive stated that any ammendments could only be minor and could not alter drastically the tenor of it.