Councillor irate with manager over Westport House masterplan

At a four and a half hour meeting on Monday evening in which Westport town councillors continued their discussion on a draft town development plan, a debate on the listing of the Record of Protected Structures, in which an inventory of 150 additional structures were recommended by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, led to heated discussions as regards the inclusion of structures in Westport House and the Westport House Wall.

Councillor Brendan Mulroy, who has already voiced his discontent with town councillors not being involved in the house’s masterplan discussions, said from the outset of the meeting that “out of fairness” councillors should not cast opinions on protected structures belonging to Westport House until the masterplan is ready. This was seconded by his party colleague, Cllr Margaret Adams.

Cllr Mulroy then lashed out at the town manager as councillors have “no idea what the manager has in mind for the masterplan”, “which worries me”, and said that he does not see how “we can go forward in unity when the manager has a bit of grace”. Cllr Mulroy then withdrew a comment in which he said that the manager must think the councillors are “fools”, as they are left outside the negotiation process.

Town manager Peter Hynes said that it was not the intention for councillors not to have involvement but that a masterplan, which will span over 50 years, needs to be treated differently than a five year town development plan. He said that a commitment has been given that councillors will be presented with the plan when it is ready before the end of the year

Councillors Mulroy and Adams abstained from discussing 11 protected structures in Westport House whose inclusion were proposed by Cllr Christy Hyland and seconded by Cllr Myles Staunton.

Westport House Wall

As for the Westport House Wall, two opposing proposals were put forward. Councillors Mulroy and Ollie Gannon proposed that the wall be included on the Record of Protected Structures list, while councillors Adams and Michael McLaughlin proposed that they omit the wall from Record of Protected Structures “until masterplan comes to light as it may play important part in access” to the house for future plans. Mr Hynes said that to exclude the wall from the list would “allow for flexibility” around the role of the wall in due course, and after going to a vote it was agreed that the wall be excluded from the list.

 

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