The ‘censorship’ row at meetings of the Inishowen Electoral Area took a new twist yesterday when Inishowen Sinn Féin councillor Jack Murray confirmed he will move a motion at the full sitting of Donegal County Council on July 30th calling for a discussion on the controversial Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the Moville/Greencastle Sewage Outfall Pipe.
Earlier this week the Burnfoot councillor told the ‘Journal’ he had made numerous attempts to have the issue raised locally but had been frustrated by council officials who told him the issue was sub-judice - that is, before the courts.
Despite numerous request in the four months since for the legal advice on which this sub judice ruling was made to be given him, he said so far nothing had been forthcoming.
Speaking with the ‘Journal’ yesterday Colr Murray said he was now forced to take the issue to Lifford.
And he suggested it was important the people of the area understand that there was a serious democratic principle involved: “I have moved a motion to Donegal County Council calling for a full debate on the controversial Compulsory Purchase Order which is being used in an attempt to build a sewage outfall pipe in the scenic Carnagarve Beach area of Inishowen.
“I am raising this issue in Lifford after numerous attempts to have the issue addressed in Inishowen were thwarted by council officials.
“They have done so by quoting alleged legal advice which claims the discussion would be sub judice to a separate case which is currently being heard in the High Court. However, they have been unable to produce this legal advice in writing despite repeated requests to do so.
“It is unacceptable to censor a debate while quoting legal advice which a solicitor is not standing over.
“Should no legal advice be produced by 30th July – 5 months after I originally raised this issue – a debate will take place in public.
“It is regrettable that I have had to go to such lengths to address the grievances of constituents in Inishowen but unfortunately every other avenue has been blocked.”
Earlier this week the man whose land is at the centre of the CPO, Dan McGuinness, also lashed out at the ‘censorship’ ruling claiming what he described as ‘low level civil servants’ were leading Inishowen councillors ‘by the nose’.
He commented: “Originally I was annoyed because they were taking part of my land but now I feel the far bigger issue is the fact that the discussion on this proposal is being regularly blocked by council officials.”
He went on: “Other than a few notable exceptions councillors are being led by the nose by council officials who reward them by fixing a few potholes. The officials keep them sweet by rewarding them with a few pet projects that earn them some kudos.
“These people were elected to represent the people, and so much for democracy if they can roll over just like this.”