The monthly meeting of Bundoran Town Council was adjourned approximately 45 minutes after it commenced on Tuesday afternoon after the Mayor requested the Town Clerk to call the gardaí to the chamber over an alleged disruption.
Cllr Michael McMahon told the members of the council present that he would adjourn the meeting if a member of the public present in the gallery did not adhere to the standing orders of the meeting.
Town councillor Denise Connolly had brought it to the attention of the chairman that she had witnessed a member of the public taking out a mobile phone when the meeting was in progress.
Last December an amendment was made to standing order 61 which stated that mobile phones and recording equipment cannot be used by those in attendance at meetings.
As a result of this alleged infringement, Garry Martin, Bundoran Town Manager confirmed that a warning would be issued to the member of public in question after the Mayor adjourned the meeting and requested the garda presence.
Councillors also asked for a letter to be sent to all members in breach of standing orders in the future.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat yesterday morning, Cllr McMahon said: “There was considerable and serious disruption from the very commencement of the meeting on Tuesday. One of the council members had been in discussion with a member of the public and had left her chair on several occasions and engaged in discussion with her. This conversation was loud and was totally disruptive.
“This would be highly irregular at a council meeting. The normal practise would be for a councillor to excuse themselves from the chamber and continue the consultations outside. Despite my requests the disruption continued.
“It was further brought to my attention that a mobile phone was allegedly being used by the member of the public which is breach of section 61.
“I had no option but to adjourn the meeting until Thursday and to request the Town Clerk, Joe McNulty that the gardaí be called.
“This is a democracy and I have no power to physically eject anybody from the chamber - that is the reason why I wanted the proper procedures adhered to.
“The gardaí did not arrive at the council offices as the meeting had adjourned but I will be having meetings with them in the course of the next few days and also taking legal advice.
“I will not be tolerating this continuous disruption during my term of office as Mayor and I wish to make this clear from the outset.”
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