May 5, 2014 4:29 pm

Searle admits to 40-year problem with alcohol; refuses to take leave of absence

MONTREAL – Besieged city councillor Jeremy Searle told Global News on Monday that he will not take a leave of absence and will continue to attend council meetings.

The independent councillor for the Loyola district in NDG confirmed that he has had issues with alcohol for more than 40 years. He acknowledged that he is seeking professional help at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH); the second time he has sought help.

READ MORE: NDG councillor Jeremy Searle escorted out of hall of honour

The admission comes after Searle was escorted out of the City of Montreal’s hall of honour last Tuesday for a private meeting with council speaker Franz Benjamin.

He denied reports then that he had attended a council meeting while under the influence of alcohol.

Raw video: Councillor Jeremy Searle denies reports of drinking

Borough mayor Russell Copeman sent Searle a letter on May 4, asking the councillor to take a leave of absence and seek professional help.

“I cannot agree with your public statements that your situation has not affected your function as City Councillor,” Copeman wrote.

“I urge you to take a formal leave of absence to address your situation and to seek professional help.”

The mayor also suggested that the councillor not attend Monday night’s borough council meeting, saying that his attendance would “heighten your stress levels and aggravate your situation.”

A glimpse of Russell Copeman’s letter to Jeremy Searle, dated May 4, 2014.

Courtesy: Jeremy Searle

© Shaw Media, 2014

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