Not co-opting Boxer Moran akin to political 'apartheid' for independents, says Leonard

The councillors who voted not to co-opt Kevin 'Boxer' Moran onto Westmeath County Council engaged in political “apartheid”, according to Cllr Denis Leonard.

The Labour man was reacting after councillors voted 12 to 6 in favour of Paul Hogan to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jamie Moran, who nominated his father to replace him.

Typically, in a co-option situation where a member has resigned, a successor is nominated by the outgoing councillor and elected unopposed.

Speaking to Midlands 103 after the meeting, Cllr Leonard criticised his colleagues who voted for Hogan.

“It should not have been allowed for a sitting councillor who leaves a seat to not be replaced by the nomination of his choice considering any political party small or large, one member or fifteen have that privilege.

“It's apartheid when we are not extending that standing order and that part of the legislation to independent candidates as well. It means no independent is safe in their seat knowing a large party can come along and effectively take that seat from them.”

In a statement issued after the meeting, Kevin Moran launched a scathing attack on the Fianna Fail/Green Party members of Westmeath County Council who blocked his return to local politics.

“Unfortunately that door has been closed to me for now by the naked power grab of Fianna Fail and the Greens … I remain willing as always to serve the people, as I have done so since I was first elected to public office in 1999.”

Read a full report on yesterday's meeting here.