The reconvened January meeting of Donegal County Council was adjourned for around 15 minutes yesterday following an outburst from Labour Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jnr.
Donegal Mayor, Sinn Féin Cllr. Cora Harvey, adjourned the meeting shortly after noon, after she was unable to get the councillor to yield the floor to allow senior council staff to answer the questions he had raised.
Cllr. McBrearty’s outburst came during a wide-ranging discussion that followed a presentation to councillors on the council’s Supervision Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) telemetry system. The system, a combination of capital and computerised elements, is used to identify leaks and other problems in the county’s water system.
Cllr. McBrearty was not satisfied with a series of answers County Manager Seamus Neely had given to questions about water pipe repair, calling the answers “not good enough”. He said to his Finn Valley colleague, Mayor Harvey, that she had a duty to allow councillors to bring forward representations they had received.
“The answers aren’t good enough and that’s the bottom line here,” he said. But when Mayor Harvey tried to ask him to stop talking to allow senior staff to answer, Cllr. McBrearty talked over her.
Later in the meeting, Cllr. McBrearty interrupted again, saying he had heard “nothing that was going to address the problems of the Finn Valley.” When Mayor Harvey again asked him to allow someone else to speak, he spoke over her, saying, “Don’t bully me.”
“You’re bullying me,” Mayor Harvey said.
When Cllr. McBrearty still would not stop interrupting, the mayor then adjourned the meeting.