BIG READ: 'I won't have that on my record,' row as women's refuge motion is discussed

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Andrea Dalton (FF) and Adrienne Wallace (PBP)

"I won't have that on my record," said Cllr Andrea Dalton over accusations that she was late for the October meeting of Carlow County Council.

Fianna Fáil's Cllr Dalton was responding to remarks by Cllr Adrienne Wallace as members discussed whether or not to vote on a last minute motion by the People Before Profit public representative. 

An "emergency motion" was brought before the Council calling on Tusla to come before local representatives to discuss the provision of a women's refuge in Carlow. 

There were heated exchanges over this motion around the issue of Standing Orders and there were also some febrile exchanges between members.

Senior Executive Officer, Eamonn Brophy, said according to Standing Order 20, a motion for dealing with urgent issues or matters in the public interest may come before the members if ten members vote to consider it. 

Members then discussed the procedural matters and how the motion came before them. 

Cllr Fintan Phelan said he was "stood over" by Cllr Wallace and told to support the motion before the Council meeting had begun. 

"That's not how you should conduct yourself. I need time to review the motion," he added. 

Cllr Dalton said she hadn't received "any documentation or motion" and added that her issue had nothing to do with the content of the motion but the procedure not being followed. 

Cllr Arthur McDonald claimed that he was "bypassed deliberately" and would have supported it if he was asked while Cllr Charlie Murphy said the motion needed to be "circulated properly". 

Cllr Michael Doran said members "have to respect the procedures but the motion is plausible".

In response to members' remarks, Cllr John Cassin asked: "When did we all become snowflakes?"

Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr John Pender, said he "could have ruled this [the proposed motion] out of order" but allowed it to be considered. 

Cllr Wallace then said that she did circulate the wording of the motion to members and "printed off seventeen". 

She said she went around the chamber with it but then claimed that Cllr Dalton had come in a few minutes late and so she didn't get to see it.  

Cllr Dalton said: "I was not a few minutes late. I've never arrived late for a meeting. I won't have that on my record. It's also disrespectful to call anybody a snowflake."

Cllr Wallace said members were getting "personal and uppity" and the motion was not being discussed.

Members then agreed to vote to consider the motion - under Standing Order 20 - by a show of hands and this was carried. 

The motion was proposed by Cllr Wallace and seconded by Cllr Cassin. 

Following reports by Carlow Live that funding of €1.5m is to be used to improve services for victims of domestic violence in Carlow, Cllr Wallace put forward an "emergency motion" at the October meeting. 

Cllr Phelan said he had concerns about the wording of the motion as it suggested an "either/or" situation between the provision of a refuge or the additional outreach workers and suggested it be amended. 

The motion as amended called on Tulsa to send a representative to the November meeting of Carlow County Council to speak to members on the provision of a women's refuge in the county. 

Cllr Dalton said "progress on a women's refuge has been unacceptably slow" while Cllr Ken Murnane said Tusla "stopped the women's refuge in Carlow" when they said they wouldn't fund the operational costs of the facility. 

Chief executive of Carlow County Council, Kathleen Holohan, said there are two key funding elements to the provision of a refuge and they are the capital and operational costs. 

She said the local authority would have ways of sourcing the capital costs through schemes and support from an Approved Housing Body but a commitment would have to be made for the operational costs. 

The motion was carried by a show of hands. 

In a statement after the meeting, Cllr Wallace said: "The campaign for a women's refuge was started by people in this community over two years ago and yet we are still waiting on any kind of meaningful action from the Council and Tulsa.

"At my first Council meeting in July, I raised this as a matter of urgency. Nothing has transpired in those 6 months and now we learn from a Parliamentary Question that Tulsa has secured funding of over €1.5m.

"We welcome this news but questions need to be asked of Tulsa and the unnecessary delays surrounding the badly needed refuge.

"We have run out of time, the courts are clogged with restraining and safety orders and women in Carlow still have nowhere to go."