Machynlleth councillor criticised for youth club comments

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Sunday 8th May 2022 6:59 am
@AlexandraBanfi
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Cllr Williams (right) said he wanted to “emphasise the role” of former councillors like Sylvia Rowlands (left), “in trying to keep the youth club open”
Cllr Williams (right) said he wanted to “emphasise the role” of former councillors like Sylvia Rowlands (left), “in trying to keep the youth club open” (Cambrian News )

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A Machynlleth councillor has been criticised for falsely claiming council members did not “fight tooth and nail” to save the town’s youth club, when it was closed down in 2016.

During a meeting on 25 April, Machynlleth town councillors criticised Cllr Ann MacGarry for her comment during a council meeting earlier this year, on 31 January.

At the time, Cllr MacGarry told councillors, “triggered by damage to the Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens”, they had received a grant to construct and place benches in Y Plas grounds, for young people to gather in a bid to curtail the rise in anti social behaviour.

Cllr MacGarry was reported in the Cambrian News as stating: “It is tragic that we don’t have a youth club, when we did we weren’t having the same issues. But Powys County Council removed the funding across Powys.

“We should have fought tooth and nail at the time, but we didn’t. “

Fellow councillors have since criticised Cllr MacGarry for the comment, which they state is untrue, but also for not sending an apology for the comment to the Cambrian News for publication.

Cllr MacGarry said she apologised during a meeting on 28 February, which the Cambrian News was unable to attend, as she was unaware her statement was incorrect.

But she added she did not send the apology to the press as it was up to the Cambrian News to publish the apology, which was printed in the February minutes. The minutes were published publicly to their website after the next council meeting on 28 March, during which councillors asked once again whether Cllr MacGarry had apologised.

In April, Cllr Gareth Jones followed this up: “I was the person quoted in the minutes. I didn’t ask Cllr MacGarry to apologise to the press. Good manners should have been enough to say that she should do that.

“She didn’t know that wasn’t the case with the youth club, nevertheless she was quoted in the press as saying the opposite. The question arises, why was the original comment said if she was unaware of the circumstances? That’s why I asked for the apology.

“Common decency would have been enough to say that somebody should apologise.”

Cllr Michael Williams said he wanted to “emphasise the role played” by the late councillors “in trying to keep the youth club open”.

Cllr Noella Elliot added: “There are two councillors that aren’t here to defend themselves, Sylvia Rowlands and Dai Speake, who were respected councillors and also members of the community.

“If you didn’t know the facts, you shouldn’t have said anything. My father taught me that you should make sure of your facts before you say anything.”

Cllr MacGarry responded: “I didn’t make a statement to the press, I made the comment in the council meeting. Perhaps I should have checked first.

“If the Cambrian News didn’t chose to report the apology, that’s that.”

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