AN attempt to question a delayed report on the future of local schools was forcefully shut down at a council meeting last week.

Educational services committee chairwoman Councillor Karen Conaghan read a prepared speech after cutting off a Labour councillor’s microphone as she appealed for them to work together.

She also insisted their schools are safe and the report would be brought to the committee when ready.

November’s West Dunbartonshire Council meeting had heard that the long-awaited schools estate management plan would not be submitted to last week’s education group.

As councillors were asked to approve the minutes from the last committee meeting in September, Cllr Martin Rooney and Cllr John Mooney tried to raise the issue of the report.

Cllr Conaghan said: “Obviously, we’d like to do something sooner rather than later, but we also need to take the time to get things right.

“All of us here in this committee are very aware of the financial constraints we operate under.

“Therefore, it’s all the more important, in terms of best value but also getting it right for every child, to explore all potential funding streams and to make the most of what’s available.”

In a comment related to concerns raised by parents at Clydebank’s Edinbarnet Primary but not at the education committee, Cllr Conaghan continued: “I will also say, just because some of our buildings are older doesn’t mean that they are unsuitable – it doesn’t mean that any building is unsafe. That was clearly stated at last Wednesday’s council meeting.

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“We do not send our children and young people into buildings that we know to be unsafe, nor would we do that with any of our employees.

“Teachers and others staff working in education and other supporting disciplines are used to being imaginative in their approaches and making the best uses of the buildings and resources that we currently do have.

“I would also remind you, Cllr Rooney, in November 2017 if I’m correct, at the council’s annual review, I said something I absolutely believe to be true – the best work that this council does is done by consensus and cross-party working.

“Let us all remember we are elected to represent people in West Dunbartonshire as best we can. In my opinion we do this best when we set party politics to the side.

“This education committee is the best example – a committee of elected members of almost all parties, teachers, parents and church reps working together for the best for the citizens and, most importantly, for the young people of West Dunbartonshire.”

Cllr Rooney tried to point out he hadn’t raised party politics but Cllr Conaghan cut off his mic and told him: “I said no.”

After his own mic was turned off, Cllr Mooney also hit back, saying: “Don’t turn off my microphone – that’s rude. I don’t agree with your ruling. It should be on the agenda that this report has not been brought.

“I don’t know where you get off saying it was party political when it wasn’t.”

Cllr Conaghan fired back: “I didn’t say it was party political. I said the best work that we do is when we leave party politics to the side.”

She then cut off Cllr Mooney’s mic again and the meeting continued.