Ballina Town Council has agreed to fund its share of an agreement among the three town councils in the county and Mayo County Council for the FAI development officer for the next year to the sum of €7,500.
Proposing the funding, Independent councillor Peter Clarke told the meeting: “This type of funding is money well spent as far as I’m concerned.” Fine Gael councillor Mark Winters raised concerns that the funding was actually €21,500 as it would be over a three year period, with the current agreement which started in 2006 ending in 2009. Town manager Paddy Mahon told the meeting that they could put it on the agenda for each year to approve it.
“I support this as any money we spend on the youth is a good thing,” Cllr Gerry Ginty told the meeting. “I’d rather spend the money on something like this than on trying to sort out problems with the youth later on after things have gone wrong.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Johnny O’Malley told the meeting: “I have no problem supporting this at all, but there are other sporting organisations that can’t raise money in the same way as the FAI, GAA, or IRFU can. For example, the Ballina Braves basketball team has brought plenty of success to the town. But they operate on a much smaller budget than some of the other organisations in the town. For every under eight or under 10 team that are trained in the sports and leisure centre it costs €35 an hour just for the lights. I just ask that we look at other sporting groups, who do great work with youths, for funding in the same light.”
Mayor to go to US for St Patrick’s celebrations
Ballina mayor Mary Kelly will be taking up the invitation to represent the town in Pittsfield, USA, for St Patrick’s Day. As part of the celebrations she will march in the Albany, New York, St Patrick’s Day parade. She was proposed by Fianna Fáil councillor Frances McAndrew and seconded by her party colleague Cllr Johnny O’Malley. Independent councillor Gerry Ginty, who has been a strong outspoken opponent of wasteful spending by the council, told the meeting: “I have no problem with the Meara going as long as it’s just the Meara and if I wanted to go, I’d pay my own way.”