herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Labour's Mary goes crackers after just 15 plates of biscuits laid on to feed 63 councillors

Mary Freehill
Mary Freehill

Dublin city councillors have slammed the food on offer at area meetings, saying "loaves and fishes didn't work".

Labour representative Mary Freehill expressed her anger at the lack of food available to her and her colleagues when attending meetings.

Cold food, mainly sandwiches and biscuits, are laid on for them.

However, Ms Freehill said that at last Monday's meeting there were only 15 plates of food to cater for 63 councillors.

"If you ever had a case of loaves and fishes, the loaves and fishes didn't work," she said.

Canteen

"I can't understand why we are continuously treated in this way by the council when you consider the standards that are available to staff up in the canteen. This is an ongoing situation."

Ms Freehill has referred the issue to the DCC Protocol Committee "several times".

Former Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh slammed the outburst, saying "there are far more important things that we should be discussing" and asking: "Can we please get on with it?"

Speaking to the Herald last night, Independent councillor Mannix Flynn backed Ms Freehill, saying there is a vast difference between what is available to councillors at City Hall and TDs in Dail Eireann.

"There's been a huge issue with food in the city council," he said.

"For all the work that we do here, we're given ridiculous biscuits which are just pretty disgusting. We don't get half the food that the full employees get in DCC."

The council is reviewing the provision of food prior to council meetings, though it says that for "tax reasons" it can provide only cold food.

In an email sent to representatives, it said: "As you know, due to tax implications (benefit in kind) we are unable to provide hot food and are therefore restricted to cold items such as salads and sandwiches.

"Can you please let me know if you would prefer a salad or sandwich so we can determine how much to order to ensure that everyone's needs are met.

"Furthermore, can you please indicate if you have any specific health-related dietary requirements which we will do our best to accommodate."

It was revealed last year that DCC spent more than €3.5m on food and drink over a five-year period.

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