There was due to be a break in the Council Budget discussion from 7pm to 8pm on Monday night.

Fianna Fail’s Rena Donaghey had already left the council chambers at 6:15pm to go and teach an IT evening class.

With her departure, Independent Councillor John Campbell realised that everything depended on him. If he swapped sides then the Budget would be passed.

Opportunity Knocked

He had made proposals before that were rejected by Fine Gael and Labour. John now held all the cards.

If Fine Gael and Labour wanted to backtrack and play ball now they would get their budget passed.

Rena was coming back later. There was a window of opportunity while she was away.


John texted Fine Gale leader Barry O’Neill and asked to meet him during the break. He held all the cards and Fine Gael realised that and made some key concessions that must have hurt – but they would get their budget passed and Rena could be back anytime.

They went back into the meeting. Sinn Fein tried to delay it but couldn’t. Rena Donaghey was on her way back to the meeting when the vote was taken.

She was too late.The Budget had passed and Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein had failed – and everyone had kept their jobs.


So, what concessions had Councillor Campbell get that caused him to change his vote.

They were:-

1.  An increase budget of  €50,000 in the small repairs budget for Donegal roads

2.  An increase of €250,000 in tourism promotion spending

3.  A €50,000 increase in the spending on libraries for the purchase of more books

4.  The Members Development Fund and Development Fund initiative to remain at current levels and not be cut

5.  €25,000 to be given to the Donegal GAA Centre of Excellence

6.  To Protect Donegal consumers the introduction of the Donegal Brand initiative

7.  Their support for lobbying for commercial rates exemptions for small and startup businesses

8.  A €5,000 drop in the home travel allowance for Donegal Councillors ( a bit of a cheeky one)

9.  An €8,000 reduction in the civic receptions budget

10.  A €10,000 reduction in funds for foreign travel for councillors

11.  A drop of €16,525 in the mayor and deputy mayor’s allowance. Ouch!

12.  The end of the allowance for the chairpersons’ strategic policy committee which will save €34,000.

Played Well

Councillor Campbell saw his opportunity while Rena was away to extract a whole pile of concessions.

He played his hand well.

If he was ever seen coming into Rosatos on the Wednesday poker night, I think a few people might throw in their hands and have a pint at the bar.

Fianna Fail didn’t realise that they would need a Full House to win that night – and they ended up with a Busted Flush.

The winners and losers from Council Fiasco

Council vote ends in farce

See also How Fine Gael and Labour outflanked Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein

As predicted – Council Turkeys didn’t vote for Christmas

Donegal Council – is this the last day?