Councillor takes High Court action over selection process for development board

Charlie Farrelly claims method used by Kerry County Council is flawed and should be set aside

A High Court action has been brought over Kerry County Council’s method for selecting two elected councillors to the board of a local community development partnership. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A High Court action has been brought over Kerry County Council’s method for selecting two elected councillors to the board of a local community development partnership. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A High Court action has been brought over Kerry County Council’s method for selecting two elected councillors to the board of a local community development partnership.

Independent Councillor Charlie Farrelly, who claims the procedure used in respect of the nomination of two members to the board of the North, East, and West Kerry Development Partnership is flawed and should be set aside.

Represented by Elizabeth Murphy BL, Cllr Farrelly, who was elected in the Castleisland Local Electoral Area, claims the council was to select two councillors last November for the board of the partnership, a community initiative involved in rural development that was set up under the EU Leader programme.

The candidates, he claims, should have been selected by the elected members using the Group Voting System, a method designed to ensure minority block representation on certain bodies. He claims this process involves elected members forming groups to nominate board members to the partnership, with the members of a successful nominating group being excluded from successive groups.

Unlawful

He claims it was unlawful not to use the Group Voting System and the council should not have used individual voting to select the two nominees. In the process used, Cll Farrelly claims no groups were formed, with the effect the same majority of councillors successively appointed both members and the minority members votes were rendered ineffective.

He disputes assertions by council officials that it was entitled to select members for the board in the manner it had. As a result, he has brought proceedings against Kerry County Council and the partnership.

He seeks various declarations and orders, including one quashing the council’s purported appointment last November of two members to the partnership’s board.

The procedures adopted by the council regarding the two members’ nomination to the board were contrary to statue, void, unlawful and contrary to fair procedures, he claims.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan who returned the case to March.

The judge placed a stay on the council’s appointments but said he would entertain an application by the council to lift the stay once it was made on notice to Cllr Farrelly’s lawyers.