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ThePacket | Posted 26th July 2017

Mathew McCarthy is defiant as his commitment as a councillor is questioned

Falmouth councillor Mathew McCarthy has defended his attendance record, which shows he has only attended one official meeting of both the town and county council since the May elections, after some fellow councillors questioned his commitment.

Liberal Democrat Mr McCarthy was first elected to the Penwerris ward on the town council in May 2015. He was re-elected at this year’s elections in May when he also won a seat on Cornwall Council with a 39 per cent share of the vote.

Since then he attended the first meeting of the new Cornwall Council on May 23 and did not attend any council meetings in Falmouth until Monday’s meeting of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee – over three months on.

Soon after the elections he asked to be taken off the town’s cultural services committee, but then changed his mind, but has resigned from its licensing committee.

At the last meeting of the full town council, fellow town and county councillor Candy Atherton asked: “Is Mr McCarthy planning to attending any meetings of this council any time in the near future? He has not attended one yet or any training.”

Other councillors also questioned Mr McCarthy’s commitment to his role as councillor, claiming he could not represent his electorate if he doesn’t attend council meetings.

At Cornwall Council Mr McCarthy is not on any committees, although he is a substitute on two – the electoral review panel and the customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee.

The other Cornwall councillors for Falmouth have attended more meetings. Ms Atherton is on one committee, and has attended six out of seven meetings; Geoffrey Evans sits on four committees and is substitute for another and has attended 14 out of 17 meetings; Alan Jewell is on four committees, substitute for another and has attended 12 of 13 meetings and David Saunby, who’s on one committee and substitute on two others, has attended all six of his meetings.

When tackled, Mr McCarthy defended his record, saying he had attended meetings that are “not recorded” and on Monday had been out working in the Penwerris ward from 9am until 5.50pm. “I’m working with people and getting things done,” he said.

“I am talking to residents of my ward and if they have a problem they can talk to me, but people are happy with the job I am doing. I have been dealing with planning, parking and road marking issues. If I thought I was doing a bad job as a councillor, I would be ashamed of myself.”

He added: “People are free to criticise, but it is the people of my ward that I am responsible to and they seem to be happy – I have not had any complaints. I was not elected by town councillors, but by the people of Penwerris.”