Louth councillor: Meeting ‘should have been postponed’ after Manchester terror attack

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A Louth town councillor has said she was ‘surprised’ that a council meeting yesterday evening (Tuesday) was not postponed, following the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena late on Monday evening.

Coun Julie Speed, who did not attend the meeting, told the Leader: “I was surprised to learn it hadn’t been postponed following the horrific events in Manchester.

“Considering that all political activity has been cancelled nationwide, and at a time when children are still missing and vigils are being held, I did not feel it appropriate for a meeting of the Town Council to discuss such non-urgent issues as committee selections.”

“I requested that I be allowed to raise a procedural point moving for adjournment at the start of the meeting, but unfortunately the Mayor did not agree and refused my request.

“I felt sure the residents I represent would feel largely as I do and wish that time be given to respect the dead, injured, those still missing and give thought to their families and loved ones.

“I have apologised on social media to the ward residents for my absence and explained my reasons, and I would very much like to thank them all for their support on this matter.”

Town Council staff confirmed that Coun Speed called their office just a few minutes before the meeting was due to begin, when councillors and members of the public were seated and ready to begin the meeting.

A minute’s silence was held in memory of the victims at the start of the meeting, and councillors resolved to send a letter of condolence to the Mayor of Manchester.

Following the meeting, the Mayor of Louth, Coun Pauline Watson, said she felt it was better for the meeting to go ahead and stated that the council should follow in Manchester’s footsteps by carrying on as planned.

Coun Watson said: “Manchester has pleaded with people to carry on; they have given the lead on this. It’s business as usual.

“Working as an authority, it’s extremely important that we continue our work.

“It was a meeting to establish committees, which are required in order to run the council. We don’t want to have a non-effective council. It was a very important meeting.

“We held a minute’s silence for the victims and decided to send a letter of condolence to the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, to express our deepest sympathy.

“We need to reflect on the event and remain steadfast. It is the way we should behave.”

On the ‘Move Louth Forward’ Facebook group, there was a mixed response to the council meeting going ahead.

Shari-Ann Hubball said the decision to go ahead was ‘bad taste’, and added: “I know we must all go on as a community but I for one disagree. The meeting should have been adjourned.”

John Lusby responded: “You could argue that cancelling the meeting would be giving in to terrorism.

“I’m sure business as usual went on in many local and national government departments, as it did in the private sector.”

Dawn Charlton said: “As a town and a community I believe the churches have gathered together to pray as a mark of respect. We should not judge.”