TENSIONS were high in Áras an Chontae on Monday evening when the Fine Gael Chief Whip, Cllr Paddy McGuinness, ignored a request from Leas Cathaoirleach and party colleague Cllr Patsy O’Brien to resume his seat when a matter not on the agenda came up for discussion.
Cllr O’Brien was chairing the monthly meeting of the authority in the absence of Cathaoirleach Gerry Coyle when Cllr Gerry Murray deviated from the agenda of the meeting to raise the issue of the Western Rail Corridor.
Cllr Murray had just seconded a motion which approved the preliminary report for the Charlestown/Bellaghy Sewerage Scheme when he stated that he found it amazing that neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael had committed to the delivery of the Western Rail Corridor during the term of the next government.
“We have now been assured that one million passengers will be passing through Knock Airport on a yearly basis and now the board of the airport want to see political will to open the rail corridor. With an election looming, I am surprised that neither Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael have announced that they will open the Western Rail Corridor during the term of the next government,” said Cllr Murray, who was continually told that the matter was not on the agenda by Cllr O’Brien and that he should resume his seat.
However, Fine Gael Chief Whip, Cllr McGuinness seemed determined to respond to Cllr Murray, but when he was told the matter was not on the agenda, he told Cllr O’Brien to ‘have a small bit of sense’ and let him speak.
Cllr McGuinness went on to say that he was happy to support the call made by Cllr Murray and he maintained a Fine Gael-led Government would deliver the Western Rail Corridor.
“We will give power back to the rural parts of Ireland and the Rail Corridor will not be the only important piece of infrastructure which we will deliver in government,” concluded Cllr McGuinness.