Ammanford mayor closes meeting as insults start to fly

South Wales Guardian: WAR OF WORDS: Cllr Irena Hopkins. WAR OF WORDS: Cllr Irena Hopkins.

LAST night’s meeting of Ammanford Town Council ended in uproar after mayor Irena Hopkins and Cllr Chris Jones traded insults at the end of a highly-charged debate on Carmarthenshire County Council’s community asset transfer programme.

As tempers flared, members voted to arrange a meeting “with all interested parties,” before deciding whether the council should take on the town’s parks and recreational areas.

Cllr Jones was among a group of councillors who had argued unsuccessfully that a further delay in making a decision could place the future of Ammanford Park in jeopardy.

Cllr Hopkins told members she feared County Hall was “pressuring” them to take over the running of facilities which traditionally had been the responsibility of the local authority.

“I feel sorry foryou all because you have been systematically bullied since you’ve come on this council,” she said.

“And I feel sorry for you because you’re afraid to make a decision,” retorted Cllr Jones.

Clearly stung by the jibe, Cllr Hopkins accused him of “insulting” behaviour before declaring the meeting closed as it threatened to descend into a shouting match.

Afterwards Cllr Jones said he had found Cllr Hopkins’ comments “condescending” and would be putting in a letter of complaint about the mayor’s conduct.

Cllr Hopkins said the behaviour of certain members had left her with no choice but to call a halt to proceedings.

“Cllr Jones thought I was being patronising but that was certainly never my intention," she added.

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