Offaly councillor refuses to apologise for 'abhorrent' comment made to retiring official

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly councillor refuses to apologise for 'abhorrent' comment made to retiring official

Offaly county councillor Dervill Dolan turned down two opportunities to apologise after making a controversial comment to retiring council official Sean Murray at the March meeting of Offaly County Council on Monday, March 25. 

Nearing the end of the meeting, Cathaoirleach Danny Owens informed members that Director of Services Sean Murray was retiring after 15 years. 

A number of councillors paid tribute to Murray's professionalism and intellect in his job which has seen him take important roles within the areas of water and roads with Offaly County Council.

A few councillors joked that while they had disagreements with Murray over the years, "he never held a grudge," while Cathaoirleach Danny Owens said he would certainly "miss him around the place."

The controversial moment came when Cllr Dervill Dolan spoke in the midst of the tributes. He addressed Sean who was sitting with fellow members of council management in the chamber.

"I didn't agree with the way you did your job. I didn't agree with the way in which you dealt with councillors and indeed the public at times."

"I'm leaving the council myself in two months and don't need to fall out with anyone but to be honest, Sean, you are good riddance from Offaly County Council," Cllr Dolan said. 

He was immediately criticised by Cathaoirleach Danny Owens and asked to apologise, a request he turned down. 

Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney also paid tribute, saying her well-versed colleague would be missed. She wished him health and happiness in his retirement.

Danny Owens once again spoke to Sean: "I want to apologise on behalf of everyone in this room except for one for what has been said to you here today. It is abhorrent."

He once again afforded Cllr Dolan an opportunity to apologise, but he yet again he refused, saying, "it's my opinion, all I can give is my honest opinion." 

Sean Murray was then invited to speak and choosing to ignore the jibe, he thanked members of management and councillors for allowing him to work with them for 15 years. 

He said: "I think Offaly is well served by the team here, both by councillors and management."

"I want to finish on this note to remember a man who was serving as Cathaoirleach when I first started with the council and that is Tom Feighery, who I believe was the epitome of a gentleman in this chamber." 

Murray was applauded before the meeting was closed by Cathaoirleach Danny Owens.