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17 Aug 2022

Kildare politician is muted and claims she was locked out of meeting

Dispute

Council working on office hub plans for county Kildare

Cathaoirleach Naoise Ó Cearúil

A member of Kildare County Council has claimed that she was “locked out” of an online local authority meeting.

Newbridge politician Fiona McLoughlin made the claim as she attempted to address the meeting.

She told a KCC meeting on November 29 that she had been unable to contribute to an item on the agenda relating to an audit report because she “locked out” of the meeting.

Cllr McLoughlin Healy explained that she was using a KCC laptop and “couldn’t get through”.

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And by the time she did the meeting had moved past several items on the agenda and Cathaoirleach Naoise Ó Cearúil was unwilling to let her contribute to an item that had already been dealt with.

“I had a couple of issues, I want to talk,” she said.

But as the exchanges continued he told her “don’t talk over the chair” and said if she did he'd mute her.

Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy

Cllr Ó Cearúil then muted her.

Kildare County Council meetings are busy affairs with a range of subjects coming up for discussion and standing orders, or the rules are in place to try to ensure that the business gets done and it’s not unusual for councillors not to reach the end of the agenda.

One of the rules is that councillors cannot speak when the chairman is speaking.

And during online meetings the cathaoirleach regularly uses the mute button in circumstances where individual councillors have overlooked to do so.

Cllr McLoughlin could be seen, but not heard speaking, as Cllr Ó Cearúil continued with the meeting.

“I’m moving on, we’ve dealt with it,” he said.

He also said that it was not his fault that Cllr McLoughlin Healy could not get through and he suggested that she use her own laptop, as he had done.

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