Ballina area briefs

An Bord Pleanála criticised

While discussing a proposed pedestrian underpass for the N26 in Ballina, Fine Gael Councillor Michelle Mulherin blasted An Bord Pleanála and queried the body’s independent status saying their delay in approving the N26 “suits the government”, before she added that it “beggars belief” that the lack of a decision from An Bord Pleanála, which should have been made 18 weeks from its submission in 2007; was “shabby”, “crazy”, and is “absolutely disgraceful”.

Mr Pat Staunton from the Regional Design Office outlined to Ballina Electoral Area Committee members, during last Friday’s meeting, that the part 8 proposal for a three metre wide, 2.1 metres high, pedestrian underpass, under the N26 road in the Mount Falcon to Bohola section, which will cost €150,000, would be on display until August 12; submissions would be accepted until August 26 and following this process the proposal would be back before the Ballina area meeting in September.

Cllr Mulherin queried what An Bord Pleanála was “playing at” as a decision should have been made last year and now councillors have to now put the effort and energy into preparing a duplication of a statutory process which they have already undergone. The councillor proposed that a letter be sent to An Bord Pleanála to express the councillors’ dissatisfaction.

Jackie Clarke collection not to leave Ballina

During the meeting councillors and the director of services, Paddy Mahon, made it clear that rumours circulating about the future of the Jackie Clarke Collection were unfounded and the message “loud and clear” was that the collection will remain in Ballina.

Cllrs Eddie Staunton and Annie May Reape praised the collection as “great assets” for the town, with Cllr Reape saying that Ballina is “extremely fortunate” to have the collection in the town. Mr Mahon reiterated that the collection will remain in Ballina as it was given to the council on this stipulation.

Housing grants no longer being approved

Housing grants will no longer be approved according to senior executive officer Paul Benson, who also warned that money in the kitty won’t even cover grants which already have been approved. He added that it is “unfortunate but that’s the position”.

Chair of the committee Jarlath Munnelly said that the scheme was “badly devised”; Cllr Seamus Weir said that it was “scandalous”; Cllr Ginty said that the Government hit the old and the vulnerable while they help the rich, while Cllr Mulherin said that it was a “sham”, and that those people with most needs were not those who were approved for the scheme first. The Fine Gael councillor said that the committee should send a letter to the Department of Environment about people being left “high and dry”.

Outdoor staff to retain their jobs

Cllr Mulherin raised the concern which many outdoor staff have as regards the security of their jobs after the summer months, however, the director of services said that he was satisfied that current staffing levels will be maintained for the remainder of 2009.



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