Jobs v Principles

So, despite what they said about sticking up for their principles, Donegal councillors managed to hang on to their jobs after all.

The last council vote was 15-13 against the budget. Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Independent John Campbell voted against.

We predicted that Independent councillor John Campbell would change his vote and make it 14-14 with the casting vote of Mayor Ian McGarvey to be cast in favour of the budget.


However, there was only one problem. Sinn Fein councillor Jack Murray wasn’t at the meeting and would be at this one voting against the budget.

However, Fianna Fail had a solution. One of their councillors, Rena Donaghey had to leave the meeting because of an urgent teaching appointment that she just couldn’t get out of.

Not Possible

She told Donegal Daily:-

“I have always been against this budget and I have voted against it but I simply could not stay tonight.

“I had teaching commitments with the VEC which I simply could not get out of. I was due to leave at 5.45pm but stayed until 6.30pm.

“We thought the vote would have been taken by then but it was not.

“We still thought we had enough with Cllr Campbell voting against the budget but that changed.

“I just want people to know that I could not be there but I wanted to vote against the budget,” she said.

No Forethought

She never considered for a moment that this might drag on and on despite that last meeting dragging on and on into the wee small hours of the morning.

She never considered the possibility of getting another teacher to substitute for her on the council’s most important night of the year.

Did she tell her electors when she stood that there would be times when she wasn’t available because of her teaching commitments?

No Cover

It seems that she had a 100% attendance record before (and still has as she turned up). She was also able to stay till the wee small hours last week at the last budget meeting.

But suddenly, in the most important vote of the year she had not foreseen that the meeting might go on past 6:15pm and had made no arrangements for someone to cover for her.


Will she tell the electors in May that no matter the importance of future council meetings that her teaching duties have higher priority than her council duties and that she is so important to the school that no one could substitute for her?

The electors could then decide if they wanted someone who could make themselves available for important council meetings or someone who had better things to do on the most important occasions.

Fine Words

She is quoted in today’s edition of the Journal on the front page as saying “We could not support this budget because it did not address our concerns. There is a huge gap of funding for roads, for housing and in regard to Irish Water.

“There was no debate allowed on this Irish Water quango even in the Dail. We don’t know what sort of service they will be giving, we don’t know how much they are going to charge and for us to be presented with a budget where none of this is addressed is simply not on”.

She then ‘knocked off’ at 6:15pm and left them to it – an action which saved her and the others’ Council jobs.


So, did she ‘take one for the team’?

Did Fianna Fail find a convenient way out so that the council survived and no one lost their job?

One doesn’t know.

However, one does know that it ended in a complete farce.

Is it any wonder that electors have become cynical about politicians?

It was entirely predictable that it would end this way, so much so that we actually predicted it.

See Donegal Council – is this the last day?