A squabble has blown up over the running of meetings of Mayo County Council's strategic policy committee for environmental policy and emergency services. Councillor Peter Flynn, chairman, said it was essential that meetings started on time because the administration staff were no longer in a
position to attend after 5 p.m.
The Westport-based representative, who last year criticised the union representing council workers for undertaking industrial action, said there was a question of respect that needs to be addressed.
He elaborated: "Only four meetings are held during the course of the year. So if people can't stay after 5 o'clock, they should make their apologies."
Councillor Flynn also expressed disappointment that the issue of 'renewable energy' was not placed on the agenda of the meeting despite a request to do so.
"A lot of great work has been done in this area and I don't want to see the ball being dropped."
Councillor Michael Kilcoyne said there was no point in asked members 'to note' particular items on the agenda without the members having an input into them.
He was disappointed not to have a say on the proposed new inspection and monitoring system for septic tanks and other on-site waste water treatment systems.
"It's a matter that has huge implications for a lot of people in this county," he added.
Paddy Mahon, director of services, said the council as not doing anything out of the ordinary by holding an SPC meeting at 3.30 p.m.
"This is the first meeting we have had since September and the proposals in regard to septic tanks were due to be discussed at a meeting which did not proceed because there was not a quorum.
"As for renewable energy, that's an issue directly associated with the planning SPC and not the environmental SPC," he explained.
Mr. Mahon stated it was unfair of any committee member to suggest they were not consulted on matters.
John Groden said the proposed new inspection and monitoring system for septic tanks was a major issue and members were entitled to debate it rather than simply note it.
Councillor Seamus Weir said he appreciated that staff members were no longer prepared to attend meetings after 5 p.m.
Councillor Michéal McNamara stated it is impossible to get a consensus on the starting time of meetings. But if they started at 3.30 p.m., there was no reason why they should not finish at 5 p.m.