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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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Motion of no confidence in Wicklow county manager defeated

Wicklow County Council hired four men from a private security firm to attend the meeting today.

Wicklow County Council manager Eddie Sheehy (centre) speaks to the media outside The Criminal Courts of Justice.
Wicklow County Council manager Eddie Sheehy (centre) speaks to the media outside The Criminal Courts of Justice.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A MOTION OF no confidence tabled against the Wicklow county manager was defeated today at a Wicklow County Council meeting.

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady tabled the motion against Eddie Sheehy, in the wake of a fine handed down to the council over the deaths of two firefighters, stating that he presided over an organisation that had no regard for the health of safety of its employees, adding that his position was not longer tenable.

€355,000 fine

The county council was handed a fine of €355,000 last month, in connection with the death of the two men in 2007.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Brady said that motion was defeated, with 14 votes against the motion, 7 votes in favour, one abstention and two absentees.

Those voting in favour of the motion were Sinn Féin’s John Snell, Independents Thomas Cullen and Tom Fortune and Labour Party members Barry Nevin and Nicky Kelly. Fine Gael’s Irene Winters was the only one to break ranks and vote in favour of the motion.

“Fair play to Irene. I know she came under considerable pressure to vote down this motion. There has been considerable canvassing from senior council officials who have been calling councillors and made a concerted effort to rally support for the manager,” said Brady.

Security men

He added that Wicklow County Council hired four men from a private security firm to attend the meeting today.

“Never in my four and half years on this council have I ever seen private security staff be drafted in to a council meeting. There was not a massive public attendance expected at the meeting. It was done to foster a sense of intimidation in my opinion,” he said.

This is not the first council to question the performance of the county manager. At last week’s Wicklow Town Council meeting, a motion calling for the “immediate sacking” of Eddie Sheehy was tabled by Councillor Pat Kavangh. It was also defeated.

Speaking at that meeting last week, Cllr Irene Winters, who voted in favour of today’s motion said: “Never in my nine years on this council have the council officials been so interested in my opinion on a motion”.

Disciplinary action

When the Wicklow town manager Michael Nicholson was asked to clarify what disciplinary or demotion actions are in place for the poor performance of a county manager, he said: “In my 33 years in council, I don’t recall any director of services or county manager that would require disciplinary action. You don’t become a county manager by doing something wrong.”

Read: Motion of no confidence in Wicklow county manager after firefighter deaths fine

Related: Wicklow Council fined €355k over Bray firemen deaths>

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