Friday, September 01, 2023

Br. Edmund Garvey - What way will Drogheda councillors vote

Victims of child sexual abuse are calling for the Freedom of Drogheda to be rescinded.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne says she will vote to strip Br. Edmund Garvey of the Freedom of Drogheda.

Victims say the civic honour should be rescinded after the former head of the Christian Brothers oversaw the adoption of a controversial legal strategy.

The strategy means victims of child sexual abuse taking civil cases for compensation have no organisation to sue because the Christian Brothers did not put forward a nominee to represent the religious order.

Therefore, victims are being forced to sue all individual Christian Brothers who were members of the order at the time of the alleged abuse. The approach, while legal, can make it difficult for plaintiffs to pursue their cases.

After the full council previously voted to place the issue of rescinding the Freedom of Drogheda on the borough district's agenda, the 10 Drogheda based councillors are now expected to decide on the matter on Monday.

Labour councillors Emma Cutlip and Michelle Hall have also said they will be supporting the motion.

Mayor of Drogheda Eileen Tully, Independent councillors Kevin Callan and Declan Power and Fianna Fáil's James Byrne have been contacted about the matter by LMFM but have all replied "no comment."

Labour's Pio Smith is against stripping Br. Garvey of the honour but says he will not be commenting further on the matter until after the vote.

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Paddy McQuillan has said he will support the rescindment but is also not making any further comment until after Monday's vote.

That leaves five of the 10 councillors who have said they will support rescinding the civic honour from Br. Garvey, one councillor who will vote against the rescindment and four councillors who have not made their position on the matter publicly known.

In the event of a tie, the chairperson of the borough district, Mayor Tully will have the casting vote in deciding the matter.