Council Chief Executive John Kelpie has confirmed that no council officers have voiced concerns or made comments about their treatment at recent public meetings.
Clarification was requested by Independent Colr. Darren O’Reilly at the July meeting of the full council following allegations from Sinn Fein Councillors at previous meetings.
Colr. O’Reilly and fellow Independent Colr. Gary Donnelly demanded apologies as the council reviewed the minutes of previous committee meetings containing the allegations.
Events held in Derry recently to help formulate local teams to take forward the Community Planning process - designed to help direct resources towards issues that matter to people in their own areas- ended in controversy, a protest and claims and counter claims.
During one committee meeting earlier this month, a Sinn Fein Councillor claimed a that a “mob” had travelled between Community Planning events, intimidating people and challenging council officers. The SF councillor had also demanded an apology from an individual who allegedly intimidated an 80-year-old woman as well as an apology from a person who allegedly told a candidate for chair to remove their name.
Colr. Donnelly challenged the claims at the Full Council meeting, and described allegations that an Independent Councillor had asked someone to remove their name as “nonsense”.
It was mentioned during the meeting that other SF Councillors had also made a series of allegations about the events. Colr. O’Reilly said this included a claim that an Independent Member in the Foyleside ward had made comments to a Council officer at one meeting and asked Mr Kelpie if he was “aware of any comments from council officers regarding my conduct?”
Both Mr Kelpie and another senior officer said they have not received any comments from council staff.
Colr. O’Reilly said that he had a voicemail message on his phone from a council staff member thanking him for his intervention at the event, and called for the claims to be withdrawn by Sinn Fein.
Colr. Donnelly said that it was “an absolute disgrace” such allegations were aired and called for them to be withdrawn immediately, particularly given that his own attempt to suspend standing orders and address what happened at the Community Planning events at another council meeting prior to the allegations being made was rejected by Sinn Fein.
There was no comment from the Sinn Fein councillors present at the meeting.