COUNCILLORS have defended their records after attendance figures for Barry Town Council meetings were revealed for 2017/18.

Plaid opposition leader and Baruc councillor, Cllr Shirley Hodges – who was Barry mayoress in the same year – was the leading attendee having been present at 55 out of 56 (98 per cent) possible meetings.

Labour council leader and Court councillor, Bronwen Brooks attended 26 out of 28 possible (93 per cent) with Labour colleagues, Cllrs Jack Hawkins (95 per cent), Helen Payne (94 per cent), Julie Aviet, (90 per cent), and Margaret Wilkinson (89 per cent).

Tory Iltyd councillor, Marguerita Wright was the top attendee in her party with an attendance record of 94 per cent in the 17 meetings she could possibly attend.

The two lowest attendees were Tory Dyfan ward councillor Vince Bailey who attended 12 of the 41 meetings he could possibly attend (29 per cent) and fellow Conservative Barry mayor, Cllr Janice Charles – who was Vale mayor throughout the year and attended 17 of the 40 meetings she could possibly attend (43 per cent).

Cllr Bailey said: “Juggling unpredictable and very long hours in my job with council commitments has, at times in recent months, made it tough to attend evening meetings at the town council.

“That said, council work extends way beyond those advertised meetings and I am proud to have made a positive contribution to the town in my first year as a councillor.

“I recently took the decision to leave my day job, and I very much look forward to making a positive difference to the ward I represent with pride.”

Barry mayor and Iltyd councillor, Janice Charles said: “If I didn’t attend meetings it was only because I was attending other meetings on behalf of the people I represent in the community - for example, such as a local Rainbow group.”

She added: “I have always read all agenda reports and if necessary let my opinion be known in writing or verbally to a fellow council to act on my behalf.”

Cllr Hodges, who topped the attendance league, said: “It’s important to attend meetings. People put their trust in me to represent them."