Cllrs Annemarie Ryan and Micheal Anglim
A councillor has spoken out on a controversial remark that was directed at her during a heated meeting of the Tipperary/Cahir/Cashel Municipal District.
Cllr Annemarie Ryan has broken her silence on Cllr Micheal Anglim’s “go away with yourself woman” retort, which she said was “derogatory and sexist”.
The proposed €5 million N24/N74 Tipperary Town Road Improvement Scheme was the focus of the meeting, where councillors were tasked with deciding how to proceed with the scheme.
Cllr Anglim proposed to not accept the Chief Executive’s Report on the scheme and to make specific modifications by resolution. This proposal was defeated by a single vote, which led to an exchange of words between Cllrs Anglim and Ryan.
Cllr Ryan had preferred to not proceed with the proposed scheme, highlighting numerous concerns raised throughout the public consultation process.
“I had been reluctant to comment on the behaviour by some councillors at the last meeting on the roadworks. I wanted the focus to stay purely on the outcome of the meeting, how that was reached and its impact on the local community,” Cllr Ryan said.
Cllr Ryan acknowledged that the meeting was “difficult”, that there was “a lot of pressure” on councillors and that Cllr Anglim’s retort was “made under stress”, however, she stated that it was “clearly meant as a put down”.
She said: “It was not a bit of banter, as suggested by another councillor, and even if it was I would still object to being spoken to like that.”
SOCIAL MEDIA ABUSE
Cllr Ryan said she has received abuse on social media since the controversy became public knowledge, with comments ranging from “snowflake” to “quit if she can’t stand the heat”.
Cllr Ryan said she is “perfectly capable” of making arguments in a “professional and unprejudiced manner”, and is “capable of facing opposition full on without resorting to playing the victim card in public”.
Cllr Ryan hit out at how women councillors have been spoken to on the council.
“Since I’ve been elected, I’ve put up with language from some male councillors like ‘the girls’, a reference to me and another female councillor. I have never heard male councillors referred to as the boys,” she said.
“I’ve attended many meetings where some male councillors have repeatedly referred to me as Cllr Annemarie, while all male colleagues are referred to by their surnames.
“I have sat by while a male colleague has called a female councillor by many variations of her first name, except her actual name,” she continued.
“It’s a subtle undermining of their female colleagues and while it may be unintentional it needs to be pointed out, just like pointing out ‘go away with yourself woman’ is inappropriate in any work setting.
“If I don’t start calling out this type of attitude towards women, then I am complicit in accepting it,” she said.
Cllr Ryan said women deserve an “even playing field” in both local and national politics.
“Women only make up under 20% elected local representatives,” she said.
“Why would more women enter politics - local or national - when there is less than an even playing field and when it is highlighted they are subject to a barrage of insulting comments,” she added.
Cllr Anglim had previously said he was “wrong” for making the comment and that he didn’t mean to “disrespect” anyone.
“I didn’t mean any offence in what I said, and Cllr Ryan accepted it,” Cllr Anglim said.
“After a lot of Zoom meetings on the plan and [then] voting to give €5 million back unspent made me snap and speak wrongly [and] for that I apologise and of course am sorry,” he continued.
“I’m not making excuses. I shouldn’t have said what I said,” he added.
He declined to comment further on Cllr Ryan’s remarks, when contacted by TipperaryLive.ie.