Westport area briefs

Additional housing grant funding

During a meeting of the Westport electoral area committee on Monday councillors welcomed the news that €660,000 additional funding has been made available to Mayo County Council for housing repair grants on works which have been approved and carried out.

Fine Gael Councillor Peter Flynn queried if applicants are subject to a means test and he questioned some of the names on the essential housing repair list. Senior executive officer Martin Keating assured Cllr Flynn that the amount of grant received depends on criteria attached to a means test.

Cllr Flynn also raised the point whether there is an action plan as regards housing for the year ahead, such as in leasing long term housing rather than an emphasis on owning houses. Mr Keating said that there will be an emphasis on leasing houses, but issues surrounding tenants’ rights and increased liability on the local authority would need to be considered.

John Gormley ‘should be sent to hedge school’

Chair of the committee Cllr John O'Malley said that more money needs to be allocated in the upcoming budget for hedge cutting, and said that it is “a pure daft situation” that the council cannot cut hedges in the summer months due to the “birds and the bees doing their business”.

His party colleague Cllr Flynn said that Mayo County Council needs to take a stand and give “Dúchas the two fingers” as “people should take precedence” over birds.

The councillors were reminded that a recent circular had been sent from Minister Gormley regarding the obligations under this legislation. However Cllr O'Malley said that it is “so annoying that a man above in Dublin can dictate people’s decisions here” and offered to pay the rent for the Minister to stay in a house in Kilmeena, where there are eight feet high weeds. He said the Minister could cycle the road where with such a limited view the Minister would be “hit and would soon change his mind”. Cllr Flynn quipped that Minister Gormley “should be sent to hedge school”.

Senior executive engineer Ger Reidy agreed that the hedges really need attention but due to resources the council might only get around to hedges every five years.

Essential repairs on roads need to be carried out

Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn said that essential repairs need to be carried out on roads in the Westport area, particularly those in Brackloon and Belclare which are subject to serious flash flooding “making these roads impassable” which is “not acceptable”.

Bye-laws possible for Westport Harbour

During a discussion on bye-laws for Newport Harbour, which are due before the council for adoption, Cllr Margaret Adams asked whether bye-laws would come into effect for Westport Harbour.

Kieran Lynn, senior engineer, said that a consultation process has commenced with the boat owners’ association in Westport.

Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council Cllr Myles Staunton said that the issue regarding derelict boats at the quay should be “acted on now”, while Cllr Flynn said that bye-laws need to be extended “to every pier in the county”.

Early bird train service welcomed

Councillors welcomed the early bird service which is to commence at the end of this month and said that people should be encouraged to use it to ensure that the service will remain.

Discrepancies in minutes

Cllr Flynn would not agree to the adoption of minutes in relation to two special committee meetings held on August 31 and September 2. He said that there were discrepancies in minutes with regard to “serious comments” made by the director of services and legal adviser which had not been recorded. He also said that the votes cast at the meetings need to be clearly recorded.

Cllr Margaret Adams proposed to defer the matter to the next meeting.

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