A majority of members of Castlebar Town Council turned on Cllr Frank Durcan over what they perceived to be a slight he made against public service workers.
Speaking while proposing a motion calling on the Government to issue an ultimatum to the state-guaranteed banks to become functional immediately in order to protect and create jobs, he said that people working for the state ‘don’t understand’ what it is like for those in the private sector who have been ‘savaged’ with different cuts and charges.
Cllr Noreen Heston, who works with the HSE, said she ‘took great offence’ to the comments.
“You don’t know my personal financial circumstances. Come with me for a day and see how I cope as a single mother on one wage,” she said.
Cllr Harry Barrett, a schoolteacher, branded the comments a ‘disgrace’ and asked Cllr Durcan to withdraw them.
“People in the public sector took out loans and mortgages and have been left with severe bills too,” he said.
Speaking after Cllr Durcan had brought up his wage as a parliamentary secretary to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Cllr Ger Deere said he was ‘fed up with it’.
“I’m on a contract, I have no pension and I worked bloody hard,” he said.
Cllr Eugene McCormack, a HSE employee, said Cllr Durcan was giving the impression that public servants ‘were rolling around in money’.
“All of us have had to face cuts and it is disingenuous of you to continue to target public service workers.”
Responding, Cllr Durcan said councillors were ‘taking me out of context’.
“What I’m saying is that ye don’t fully accept the dilemma the ordinary person who hasn’t a permanent job or a job at all has to face with. Or, for that matter, the businessman who loses his business and receives no social welfare entitlements. I know people in all sectors bought houses and are paying for it,” he said.
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