LOGGERHEADS Peter Hynes, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, and outgoing councillor Frank Durcan.
Chief Executive and councillor trade blows
The fraught relationship between the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, and Independent councillor Frank Durcan came to a head at the controversial councillor’s final meeting as a county councillor.
Yesterday’s (Monday) meeting of Mayo County Council was the final meeting before the local elections on May 24 and marked Cllr Durcan’s final meeting as a public representative since he was first elected in 1967 to Castlebar Urban District Council.
Since he was reelected as a councillor in 2009, his relationship with Peter Hynes and other members of the executive has been at times what can only be described as strained.
The two men were at the centre of a recent SIPO investigation into alleged wrongdoings over rezoning of land. In January, Mr Hynes was cleared of any wrongdoing while Cllr Durcan was found to be in breach of a code of conduct for public representatives.
In their final parting exchange, Mr Hynes told the chamber that the two men will continue to engage with each other in another forum.
“I won’t say goodbye because we look forward to continual engagement with you in the months and years ahead on certain matters … When they come to conclusion we will then be able to be in a position to examine your unique heritage and the nature of the events will be fully understood,” he said.
In response Cllr Durcan fired back saying that Mr Hynes should tell the councillor what the ‘certain matter is’. Cllr Durcan claimed: “We are being sued as a council and I am being sued individually by a member of the staff.”
Mr Hynes rejected this saying: “That is not the matter I am speaking of councillor and well you know it.”
The meeting was also the final meeting for three other councillors – Fine Gael councillor Henry Kenny along with Independent councillors Gerry Ginty and Michael Holmes, who will also not be contesting the local elections.
In his final address which was well over the allocated three minutes speaking time, Cllr Durcan spoke on a number of issues which he was involved in across over 50 years of local government.
He claimed the ‘hullabaloo’ he caused in the chamber of Mayo County Council which resulted in him having to be ejected by gardaí resulted in the government providing money for a new library in Castlebar.
He said his greatest day in politics was beating Pádraig Flynn and Enda Kenny in a local election in 1985. “I never saw two families leave the polling place as quick in my life,” he said.
In one of his final comments he said he would be writing a book and it would disclose more about what is happening in Mayo County Council than what he is allowed to say in the chamber.
“You may think I will be leaving Mayo County Council. I will be keeping an eye on things and I hope to finish my book this time next year and there will be a lot more than what I said here today. I never came across anything like this. No private business would ever be ran like Mayo County Council,” he said before he was told by the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Blackie Gavin that he had got his point across.
Mr Hynes said Cllr Durcan’s final address ‘was typical of your contribution over four decades at this stage’.