Kilkenny council vice-chair to travel to New York as chairman rules himself out due to cost

Fine Gael colleague will instead take part in St Patrick's Day parade

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

MARCH 17

A marching band in the New York St Patrick's Day Parade.

The vice-chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Pat Dunphy (Fine Gael), will represent Kilkenny in the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade this year, in place of chairman David Fitzgerald.

Last week, Cllr Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) ruled himself out of attending the event due to the cost of the trip, which was estimated at around €5,000 for the taxpayer.

At Monday’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr Fitzgerald raised the issue again, saying he was aware that some members had concerns over his decision. He asked for a show of hands from councillors who wished to see a representative travel to New York for the St Patrick’s Day festivities, and the majority of members indicated they supported it.

Cllr Joe Malone (Fianna Fail) said he was glad that the members had arrived at the decision. He suggested leas-Cathaoirleach Dunphy go instead if he was willing.

Cllr Malone said it was ‘the biggest festival in the world’ and he would have been disappointed if Kilkenny City and county weren’t present.

Cllr David Kennedy (Sinn Fein) said when he had heard the cathaoirleach announce he wasn’t going, he thought this was ‘very good’.

“I believe our cathaoirleach should stay in Kilkenny and celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Kilkenny,” he said.

“It might be a couple of thousand euro, but it could be spent on our own parades here.”

Last year, local Sinn Fein councillors brought a Notice of Motion proposing the tradition be discontinued. It was defeated by a majority of councillors, however, and then-Cathaoirleach Matt Doran made the trip in March.