Ashbourne based Independent councillor Joe Bonner has told today’s meeting of Meath County Council that he believes references to him a draft of minutes from another meeting are inaccurate.
The references are to comments made by another Ashbourne councillor Alan Tobin and state, ‘ At the outset issues were raised by Councillor Alan Tobin to allegations which he asserted by Councillor Joe Bonner at the meeting the previous day and in respect of which he made reference to Councillor Bonner being a liar. This was denied by Councillor Bonner. The Council’s law agent was asked about privilege and informed the meeting that members are operating in a public forum and do not have parliamentary privilege like members of the Oireachtas.’
They then go on to highlight two statements made by Tobin at a meeting.
Firstly he said at 3.45 pm, ‘On 24th of November there was a bit of a heated debate. I used some language that shouldn’t have been used in the chamber. I am passionate about my area and I wanted the best for Meath and for Ashbourne. I uphold and I have signed the Code Of Conduct for this reason I retract the comments made to another Councillor in the heat of the debate. It was in reaction to inaccurate information that was introduced to the debate and I retract that language.’
Later at 5.06 pm, the draft records Tobin as saying, ‘I apologise for not alluding to what the conversation was about, I am sure everyone knows who this was about. The language that was used, I called Councillor Bonner a liar, I retract that language that was used.’
Bonner however was not accepting what is in the draft minutes and revealed he had listened back to recordings of the controversial comments.
He said, ‘ I’m advising the meeting that the reference to me in the draft minutes are not an accurate reflection of what is on the tapes and I want what I am saying now recorded in the minutes.’
In February this year, Bonner confirmed he was seeking legal advice on the contentious allegations.
He told Meath Live at the time, ‘ Regarding your email this morning and the questions raised, I confirm that I have a Solicitor and Barrister acting on my behalf in relation to this matter.’
Sources unconnected to either man have told us that Meath County Council officials have attempted to mediate between the two but have not been successful in their efforts.
An MCC spokeswoman refused to confirm their suggestion of mediation, saying, ‘Meath County Council has no comment to make on this matter.’