The June meeting of the Ballina Municipal District took place this week - read what the councillors were discussing
O'Hara calls for tribute to late athletics coach
Fine Gael councillor John O'Hara has called on Mayo County Council to mark the passing of the late John McDonnell, the renowned athletics coach and native of Ardagh. Mr McDonnell who made his name at the University of Arkansas and coached 23 Olympians, passed away last week. Speaking at the June meeting of Ballina Municipal District, Cllr O'Hara said: "As a mark of respect to John McDonnell, he was one of the greatest track and field coaches of all time. That man was from Ardagh originally, he came from a very small farm. He qualified to go to the Olympics, but money was very scarce in 1960 and he never got to go there. But he pursued his running and went to America. He trained over there as a coach and got a job with the University of Arkansas and he was the assistant coach there for five years and then followed that up as head coach for 35 years. I think we in the Ballina Municipal District should mark it by putting up a plaque at the running track and maybe call it the John McDonnell. This man will go down in history as one of the finest, he came from a small place in Mayo and we should recognise it." Cllr O'Hara's call was backed by the rest of the members, with both Cllr Annie May Reape and Cllr Mark Duffy speaking in favour of Cllr O'Hara's proposal.
Call for Clúid to put in place some amenity on derelict ground
Independent councillor Mark Duffy has called on Mayo County Council to communicate with housing agency Clúid to create some sort of amenity for residents in Parkside in Ballina, on ground that was supposed to be used as a community centre but is sitting idle. In a motion on the issue at the June meeting of Ballina Municipal District, Cllr Duffy said: "On the road between St Patrick’s Church and United Drug, if you are travelling up this route and United Drug is on your right hand side, it is just further up on the left hand side. Initially, Clúid, when they had developed the development, there was plans for a community centre; supposedly they ran out of money, but they have left this completely untouched and it is basically a derelict eyesore and is attracting a lot of rubbish and litter in the area. There is at least an opportunity to introduce it as a pitch or some amenity of a green space or park for kids in the area. It is a perfectly rectangular space - the least they can do is fulfill some obligation on it and create some community and civic and amenity space for residents in that area." Supporting the motion, Cllr John O'Hara said: "I would like to second the motion, it is an area that is only collecting rubbish, it needs addressing; it is only a small field and is very unsightly. Clúid should be asked to do something." Cllr Annie May Reape said: "As somebody who worked a lot with Clúid when these houses started, a lot of promises were made and a lot they haven’t fulfilled and I think this is an area where the council should write to them and in fact, they haven’t been in consultation for a long time and can be difficult to get in contact with and I think if the council writes to them to come up with some proposal to meet with some proposal for the people of the area. It is a very highly populated area and could be utilised really well."
Council to lease playing courts to Ballina Tidy Towns
The elected members of Ballina Municipal District have given their approval for the leasing of three playing courts at Tom Kenny Park to Ballina Tidy Towns for a ten year period. Outlining the reasons for the lease at their June meeting this week, head of the Municipal District for Mayo County Council, Declan Turnbull, told the members: "People are familiar with the Tom Ruane Park on the Sligo Road. At the front of the park we have three courts, which are currently laid out for basketball, tennis and soccer. They are very well used and you see people there at any time of day. It is free for all to play at any time you want. Unfortunately the courts have come into a bit of disrepair over the last few years, when we get our reports done on our facilities it points out that fencing around the area needs to be dealt with and the surfaces aren’t in a good shape, some of the nets need to be dealt with. We were looking for funding to upgrade the courts and we didn’t have any luck heretofore, but then the tidy towns committee approached us and said they would like to take on the project under their remit. They applied for funding under the leader programme to get money to upgrade the courts, we were happy to work with them and give them the go-ahead subject to getting the funding and a lease. They have been successful in getting funding in order for it to go ahead; we need to provide a lease to the Tidy Towns so we are suggesting a ten-year lease which will be signed with the Tidy Towns, they can then draw down the funding and get the work done. Then they will be open to all the people in the Ballina area to use and it will enhance the park." The lease proposal is to go before a full meeting of Mayo County Council for full and final approval.
Duffy calls for pedestrian access to Glebe estate in Ballina
Independent councillor Mark Duffy submitted a notice of motion to the June meeting of the Ballina Municipal District calling for the council to install a footpath linking up to the pedestrian access to the Glebe estate in the town. Speaking on the motion Cllr Duffy said: "There is a pedestrian entrance to the Glebe, it is on the other side of the road; it is a very short extension that is required. It would require adjacent landowners' permission, it wouldn’t need the walls stepped back but it is a very dangerous bend and it would help pedestrian access, walkers and cyclists from the Glebe estate. It would be appreciated by all there." His motion was seconded by Cllr John O'Hara, with Cllr Annie May Reape also speaking in support of it. In a written response to the motion, Mayo County Council said: "The provision of a pedestrian link at this location will require road widening, land dedication/agreement and heavy civil engineering works due to the significant level difference between the existing road and adjacent private property. The works will require the construction of a retaining wall which will bring the road edge closer to the rear of existing properties with restricted sites. An estimate of the cost to provide a retaining wall, undergrounding of services and construction of a footpath and associated works would be a minimum of €85,000. Consultancy, Safety and Archaeological costs will be extra and subject to specific procurement. This project may be included on the Ballina MD list of unfunded projects with the agreement of BMD Councillors but will be subject to a safety review, land dedication/agreement, archaeology and specific funding."