Fine Gael councillor Ger Deere has received the full backing of the elected members of Castlebar Municipal District for the installation of a number of benches and picnic tables at locations around the town for the summer months.
Cllr Deere put forward a notice of motion at the May meeting of the authority which read: "That the Castlebar Municipal District purchase or lease a number of outdoor seating /tables and for them to be placed on the Mall and on the plaza in Market Square over the summer period as to accommodate the general public and assist businesses." Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne added an amendment to the motion - that bins be provided alongside the benches and tables, which was accepted by Cllr Deere.
Speaking on the motion Cllr Deere said: "It is simple enough, I know that there are generous grants available to business through Failte Ireland at the minute, but I know that it doesn't suit a lot of business to apply for that grant. What I'm asking is for a number of months, that we put benches and picnic tables in the Mall, we are lucky to have a big area there.
"Also in Market Square, there are a number of coffee shops there that can't put things outside their businesses and this is to help the business people and the general public as well. I know that myself, if you get a sandwich downtown, you can't get somewhere to sit outside, it would be lovely to go and sit in The Mall or Market Square.
"I don't want to hear about insurance, every county council has benches at beaches and in parks so it shouldn't be a problem. It has been proposed and seconded so I am asking that we purchase a number of these and put them in strategically for the next number of months."
Cathaoirleach of the District, Cllr Blackie Gavin, gave his full support saying: "I think it is a great motion, it will be wonderful to see, people will be able to go out and enjoy what we have. Not alone there, we have places all over the town." Senior Engineer for Mayo County Council, Anne Sweeney, added that there would be some small towns outside of Castlebar in the municipal district that might have space for the benches and tables also.
As for funding the investment, Cllr Deere told the meeting:"I want to see this happen in the next few weeks, before the summer is gone, we can get the money from somewhere, take it out of our town twinning, we are going nowhere this year, I'll even put some of my GMA money into it."