Pact stops SF motion against mayor

Sinn Féin attempts to sanction the lord mayor of Cork failed last night as the mayoral pact parties closed ranks.

The party was voted down after trying to table an emergency motion during a city council meeting which called on the council to state that the office of lord mayor should be apolitical.

The motion was prompted by Lord Mayor Terry Shannon’s attack on the party last week as part of a row over commemorative plaques erected in the republican plot in the city’s St Finbarr’s Cemetery.

The Fianna Fáil councillor accused Sinn Féin of taking over and claiming ownership of the historic plot, and described the party’s political representatives as “purveyors of poverty” and of releasing misleading information relating to City Hall refurbishments.

Sinn Féin city councillor turned TD Jonathan O’Brien — who called on Mr Shannon to publicly apologise for “sullying” the office of lord mayor — was in City Hall’s public gallery to watch the meeting as the party’s councillors waited to see if Mr Shannon would address the issue. However, the lord mayor, who said earlier that he stood over his remarks, made no reference to the spat as he chaired the meeting.

The Sinn Féin leader on the council, Chris O’Leary, sought the suspension of standing orders to debate an emergency motion.

He wanted the council to reiterate its view that the office is apolitical, that the holder of the office is representative of all the citizens of Cork, and that the office of lord mayor should not be used for party political purposes.

A vote was called and Fine Gael, Labour, and Fianna Fáil councillors, who are in a mayoral pact which sees the chain of office rotate between the parties, voted 21-9 against suspending standing orders to debate the motion.

Emmet O’Halloran (FG) said the row between Sinn Féin and the lord mayor was distracting from city business.

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