CITY councillors have been urged to stop “wasting time” debating issues they have no influence on after representatives voted on whether to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of the country.
A motion put forward by Councillor Ken O’Flynn (FF) called for the local authority to add its voice to growing calls from approximately 50 countries - including the US, Ireland, Britain, France and Germany - to back Guaidó instead of de facto leader Nicolás Maduro.
A lengthy debate by councillors followed on civil unrest, human rights and the faltering Venezuelan economy.
However, Joe Kavanagh (FG) said international debates have no place in the chamber and only City Council related business should be discussed.
“I’m sure the people of Venezuela are quaking in their boots tonight worrying about what is going on at Cork City Council,” he said.
“What this motion and motions like it are doing on the Cork City Council agenda, I have no idea. It has nothing to do with the business of Cork City Council and it’s political showboating. There are far more important issues we should be discussing rather than wasting time. Whilst we have concerns and we have issues with Donald Trump, Hugo Chavez and god knows who else...this is a total waste of time. There are far more constructive debates to be had.”
Mr O’Flynn said the issues matter to Cork’s Hispanic community.
“There are 63 languages being spoken in this city every day and a lot of people in the Hispanic community meet on a regular basis.
“The difficulties that people are going through in Venezuela at this moment in time are shocking and horrific,” he added.
Terry Shannon (FF) said City Council has always been willing to debate international political issues.
“To an extent, I agree with Councillor Kavanagh but this is the city debating chamber and we have over the years solved all the world’s ills and debated all of them. I do think there are issues in Venezuela that cause concern,” he added.
The motion to recognise Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela was defeated by 11 votes to two.