IT might be a sign of the times, but even sending two delegates to an EU meeting to represent Cashel, stirred up controversy at this month’s meeting of the Town Council, with one Councillor claiming that the “gravy train” should be stopped in its tracks.
As reported in last week’s Tipperary Star, Councillors have benefited enormously from expense allowances. Cllr Martin Browne said the onus is now on the Town Council to make whatever savings it can for the taxpayer, even if that means not sending a Cashel delegation to an EU meeting planned for Samuel, Portugal, on October 25/28. “I don’t think we should be seen as elected members on the paper,” said Cllr Browne, referring to a recent exposé on Councillors’ expenses. “Some public representatives are on the gravy train. We don’t have the money to send people away. I fully appreciate (the EU Charter) has been good to the Town, but how much money does it take to send members abroad?” asked Cllr Browne.
Cllr Joe Moloney said the Portugal meeting is very important. “The amount of money is small. I fully appreciate where Cllr Browne is coming from, but it’s great to have a relationship with those countries. That was proved by the EU Charter Meeting (earlier this year).”
Cllr Eddie Bennett said it would be a shame if, out of 27 countries, Ireland was not represented. “Even Bulgaria is sending somebody. Ireland should take its place.”
Cllr PJ Quinlan said the EU Charter Meetings were run “on a shoestring” budget. “It’s extraordinarily well organised, and an example to any business. There is a huge amount of voluntary effort.” Cllr Maribel Wood said it is important to keep in contact with the other towns. “It’s not all about the money. It’s about communities coming together.” Cllr Joe Moloney proposed Cllr Quinlan as the Town Council’s delegate. Cllr Quinlan agreed to go, “on a tentative basis.”