Council

Legal advice expected tomorrow on contentious Údarás vote in Donegal County Council chamber

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Legal advice expected tomorrow on contentious Údarás vote in Donegal County Council chamber

Cllr Seamus O Domhnaill who disputed the count.

It is expected that legal advice sought following a disputed show of hands election count in the chamber of Donegal County Council last Monday over an appointment to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta will be presented to the members when they reconvene their meeting tomorrow morning, Monday October 2nd.
There were heated exchanges last week over the disputed count to elect a member to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Sinn Féin proposed Cllr John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh for the position while Fianna Fáil proposed Cllr Seamus Ó Domhnaill.
A vote, via a show of hands was counted by Director of Service Joe Peoples who informed the meeting chairman, Cathaoirleach Cllr Gerry McMonagle, that Cllr Ó Fearraigh received 12 votes while Cllr Ó Domhnaill had eleven.
The chairman deemed Cllr Ó Fearraigh elected, but this was met with strong opposition from a number of Fianna Fáil councillors who claimed the count was inaccurate and that Cllr Ó Domhnaill had garnered more votes than the figure stated. They demanded the vote be retaken as a “recorded vote”.
Cathaoirleach Cllr McMonagle said the vote stood and they could not demand a recorded vote retrospectively.
A retake of the vote was requested by Cllr Ciaran Brogan who said they were “entitled to it” under the Local Government Act.
This was refused and legal opinion on the matter was sought from the council solicitor.
The meeting later heard that the advice was still being sought and the members proceeded to hold a discussion on a motion on Local Property Tax.
Once this had concluded in the evening, the Cathaoirleach said he had again been in contact with the county council solicitor who advised him that he would require more time to consider the matter further, and he would not have legal advice ready by the close of business.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan said as the person who was seeking the legal advice he believed that there were 14 members who had voted for the Fianna Fáil candidate. The Fianna Fáil members circulated a list of the names with each one signed by named councillor who claimed they had voted.
Cllr Brogan said he did not believe the alleged miscount was intentional and was a “genuine mistake” but it caused “huge annoyance”.