A new law, ensuring that Monksland will remain within the county Roscommon boundary, is set to be implemented by the end of the year.
Speaking this week, Minister Denis Naughten, confirmed that the Government had taken a stance on the issue which came to initial prominence in early 2016 when Westmeath County Council proposed the extension of its boundary into the thriving South Roscommon community.
“The Government has published a new law which will ensure that the Roscommon County boundary is set in stone and cannot be altered in future, with the stroke of a pen,” Deputy Naughten commented.
Noting the contribution of his political colleagues, Minister Eoghan Murphy and Minister John Paul Phelan, Deputy Naughten added that Cabinet approval had been received to put into place a new law to protect the Roscommon county boundary.
“The new law, the Local Government Bill 2018, now requires the approval of both the Dail and the Seanad and I hope that I will have the support of all the local public representatives to ensure its speedy passage, later this year.
“The community of Monksland and the county as a whole, rejected plans for Westmeath to take over part of county Roscommon and while this has been stopped, it is now important to ensure that this is taken off the agenda completely.
“Once passed, the new law will provide clarity once and for all by protecting the existing county boundary and remove the possibility of any disagreement in the future,” the Minister stated.
Speaking out against the decision proposed by Westmeath County Council two years ago, Deputy Naughten highlighted the need to halt any progress by the neighbouring local authority to take over the economic heart of county Roscommon and was unanimously backed at the time by colleagues and the communities which would have been effected by the boundary change.
If Westmeath County Council had acquired the 30 sq.km area of South Roscommon which it had initially sought, the county would have lost one in nine of its approximate 65,000 population.
Monksland and the area in its vicinity, has been developed by Roscommon County Council over numerous years and is now a base for multi-national companies - Alkermes (formerly Elan ) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals and noted Irish businesses Sidero and Arran Chemical Company Ltd. all of whom are strong employers in the locality.