After a protracted and sometimes heated debate at the Westport-Belmullet Muncipal District on Monday, a land swap and cash deal between Mayo County Council and Inishoo Management was approved by the elected members and sent forward for final approval at the next full meeting of Mayo County Council.
The deal will see the council give 6.7 acres of land at Westport Demesne near the Chesapeake printing company in Westport to Inishoo Management and in turn Inishoo Management will give Mayo County Council 4.1 acres of land on the Golf Course Road, adjacent to lands owned by the council in the town and €360,225.
The deal between the council and Inishoo Management, will enable another deal to be done between Westport GAA and Inishoo Management, who will lease lands in Carrowholly to the GAA club - that are located beside lands that Mayo County Council are leasing to Westport GAA also, which will allow the club to develop new pitches and facilities for the growing club.
The elected members had a number of items on their agenda to note to allow the deals to proceed - however both Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn and Independent Cllr Johno O'Malley had asked for the item where Mayo County Council would sell the land they own at Westport Demesne, to be deferred for a month.
Cllr Flynn had asked that it be deferred so the councillors could get all the information on the sale and visit the site. He questioned the deal that the council was getting, telling the meeting that the council was giving up seven acres of "prime development land" and in return would be getting "a landlocked hill" in Kilmeena.
Responding to his concerns, Catherine McConnell, director of services for Mayo County Council, said she stood over the deal and the land the council was getting in return was not landlocked and would consolidate the land bank the council had there already.
Cllr Flynn's concerns were rejected strongly by his fellow Westport based councillors - Fianna Fáil's Cllr Brendan Mulroy and independent Cllr Christy Hyland, with both councillors saying that any delay on this issue could derail the plans of Westport GAA Club.
Cllr Hyland told the meeting that "the dogs on the street know this is a three-way agreement so the GAA club can get ground for the children to play on and I commend the family in question (who owns Inishoo Management ) for engaging with the GAA club."
McConnell also backed up the assertion that if the transfer of lands was not agreed, it could derail the process if it was not dealt with.
The item was passed with Cllr Flynn abstaining from voting on the issue. It will now go before the full meeting of Mayo County Council on Monday, April 12 for final approval.