It was a case of seconds out round two when FG councillor Alan Tobin let rip at his Independent colleague Joe Bonner at the end of what was until then a mundane meeting of the Ashbourne area Municipal district in the towns Civic Centre last Tuesday.
At a full council meeting almost two years to today, on November 24th 2020,Tobin made the allegation that Bonner was a liar and accused him of telling lies.
Unsurprisingly legal action followed and at a full council meeting last June Tobin issued a full apology saying, “On the 24th of November 2020 I spoke at a special meeting of Meath County Council. During the course of my contribution I referred to Councillor Bonner as a liar and stated that he told lies.
“This is untrue and I apologise for the words spoken by me about Councillor Bonner. I should not have said this about Councillor Bonner and I regret any upset this may have caused him and his family.”
As part of an out of court settlement Tobin agreed to cover Bonner’s legal costs, thought to be around €17,000 and to make a €5,000 donation to Ashbourne St Vincent de Paul.
It seems the incident still rankles as at the end of last Tuesdays meeting after councillors had agreed to write to a government minister about problems over flight paths Tobin shouted across the chamber at Bonner, ‘Get your solicitor to write the letter he is good at that’ and followed up by saying, ‘If I had fifty thousand euro I’d have taken you on in court and won.’
One source who was at the meeting told Meath Live, ‘The whole thing was just finishing up when all of a sudden as people were starting to leave I could hear Alan raising his voice and it was fairly clear to most in attendance what he said.
‘Whether Joe Bonner was shocked into silence or what I don’t know but he said nothing back, it was a lively end to a boring gathering.’
Meath Live contacted Alan Tobin last Friday but so far he has not replied to requests for a comment.
Joe Bonner told us, ‘I can confirm I heard exactly what was said, I didn’t dignify it with a reply then and I have no comment to make on it now.’