The following is the text of the open letter handed into a locked-out City Hall in Cork tonight. The people were prevented from gaining access even into the hall complex, let alone the public gallerias for the Council meeting. Shame on the Lord Mayor, shame on City Council for allowing it!
A .PDF copy of this letter is available to download here.
16th December 2013
It is with concern that we again come to City Hall to put before you the demand that City Council must act in accordance with it’s Constitutional duty, set out in article 28A of Bunreacht na hÉireann, to provide “a forum for the democratic representation of local communities”.
Tonight’s meeting is a scandalous disregard for and an insult to the people of Cork!
Your task is to provide a forum for our communities, for our representation… not for Party ‘whips’ or other vested interests – shame on you for locking us out!
Tonight you work behind closed doors, keep secrets and hide details – this is not representing the people of Cork!
The people are excluded from tonight’s meeting of our City Council, but we are having our say anyway.
We note that the Budget estimates for 2014 have not been put before the people of Cork, there has been no effort to engage the people in deciding the priorities of either income or expenditure.
Further, there has been no effort at meaningful consultation with the public in relation to the provision of Council services.
There has been a marked absence of any meaningful public consultation by City Council, while families are faced with severe crisis in all aspects of life. Our communities are plagued with emigration, unemployment, a failing domestic business sector, financial and mortgage hardship, health and social problems, including the scourge of drugs.
All the time Council has refused to represent the people and co-operated with the imposition of new taxes, the Household Charge, the Local Property Tax and now the imposition of charges for water and the privatisation of the vital resource.
City Council has joined the bully tactics of Government, threatening and frightening senior citizens in their own homes, adding to the already heightened anxiety in our community.
The privatisation of our water leaves Council now dependent on Irish Water to the tune of €22 million – Government funding has been halved! Private interests will remove this €22 million very quickly and leave Council short, endangering the future of staff employed in this area.
Such gutting of Council services does not serve the people of Cork, it simply hands a vital resource over to private interests who can only act in their own private interests.
There is extravagant expenditure on the likes of the Lord Mayors suite, the junkets and huge handouts to retiring Councillors. On top of that we see vulgar salaries paid to senior management at City Hall – it says something to the people of Cork – WE DON’T COUNT!
We have come here today because WE DO COUNT, we have rights and we will assert them.
There is another important meeting tonight, it takes place at Ionad an Phobail, 99 Douglas Street, that is where the people are getting organised from – we will not lie down.
We ask, when may we expect to be treated with respect?
When will City Council fill it’s duty and provide for the representation of our communities?