Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin was accused of ‘self-promotion’ by another Ballina politician at a Joint-Policing Committee meeting last Friday.
Cllr Gerry Ginty made the comments after Senator Mulherin had repeatedly tried to open a discussion on a matter that was not on the agenda of the meeting.
Senator Mulherin wanted the meeting to discuss people who were issued with parking fines in Ballina before Christmas despite signs saying there was free parking in place.
She said she had tabled an advance question on the issue. However, Mayo County Council officer Pat McHale explained that advance questions need to be with the council two weeks ahead of the meeting, and that Senator Mulherin’s question did not reach the council on time.
“The matter is being reviewed by Mayo County Council, and she will receive a response from us,” Mr McHale told the meeting.
Senator Mulherin did not accept that.
“I wasn’t told I wasn’t on time. I was told it was not a matter for a JPC meeting, which I refute,” she argued.
She said that signs announcing free parking from 2pm to 6pm had been erected in Ballina, but people who parked there in good faith were subsequently fined. She argued that these fines should be cancelled. She also said that she had written to Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes in advance of the meeting.
Mr Hynes replied that Senator Mulherin had only written to him two days before the meeting.
“This will be dealt with in due course. It is a matter for the management of Mayo County Council and not for this forum. You will receive a response. We are wasting time here,” he said.
JPC Chairman Al McDonnell tried to move the matter on but Senator Mulherin again returned to the subject, saying that the policing of car parks was a matter for the JPC, at which stage Cllr Ginty interjected.
“I have other things I can be doing here today rather than listening to self-promotion for the sake of it,” he said.
“Tell that to the people who were fined,” retorted Senator Mulherin.
“There is a proper forum for that, and you are not above it,” replied Cllr Ginty.