A discussion during July’s Council sitting around a meeting with Friends of the Earth turned into an argument between an Independent councillor and Sinn Féin councillors.

Councillors were told about a constructive meeting held between Council Officers and Friends of the Earth and that during the course of the meeting the environmental organisation requested to address the Council on an informal basis.

Sinn Féin’s Thomas O’Reilly proposed that the Council meet with Friends of the Earth.

It was after this that Independent Councillor Emmet McAleer raised a point of order saying his light to speak had actually been on before Councillor O’Reilly’s and he had just been “bypassed”.

“With due respect Councillor O’Reilly’s was a solid green bar and mine was flashing after Councillor Deehan,” said Councillor McAleer who said he wanted to second the proposal.

Chairperson Siobhán Currie (SF) said the proposal had already been seconded to which Councillor McAleer responded that nobody had put on their light.

“I just did ask the whole chamber Comhairleor McAleer if anybody wanted to second it,” said Chairperson Currie.

“Point of order you put on your light,” responded Councillor McAleer.

“Which point of order are you referring to?” asked Chairperson Currie.

“You put on your light to be the next person to speak, you don’t shout out,” said Councillor McAleer.

“We do when we are asking for a proposer and seconder,” said Chairperson Currie.

“You do as in the instance when some of your party members shout out to turn off my microphone at a previous meeting, yes is that not an example?” asked Councillor McAleer.

Chairperson Currie told Councillor McAleer that she believe he alleged that in the past and pointed out that she was not the chair of that meeting.

Tommy Maguire of Sinn Féin came into the argument pointing out why Councillor McAleer was silenced at a previous meeting.

“My recollection of what was said on the night was that Councillor McAleer introduced himself and in the next statement insulted every other councillor in the chamber making a wild accusation that we were possibly in the pay of a certain company that operates in the area.

“He said that whenever this company is mentioned on the agenda, as a member of the planning committee he has at all times declared an interest just like every other member of the planning committee.

“When a councillor comes in and makes a sweeping remark of insult to every other member in the chamber I would feel and I would certainly support the chair in the removing of the microphone. Had he been allowed to proceed on the night perhaps legal proceedings may have pursued.”

With Councillor McAleer laughing at his comment, Councillor Maguire added that he was glad that he found it funny but he did not like to be ridiculed in public as an elected member from Enniskillen of “being in the pocket of any company”.

Chairperson Currie also said she took offence, reminding Councillor McAleer that she was not the chair at the meeting in question and also about the Standing Orders and Code of Conduct training.

Councillor McAleer said he never made any allegations of the sort before the discussion was ended and the meeting moved on.