It was a tale of two electoral areas at the Belmullet electoral area meeting this week, with the new Newport harbour bye-laws being placed as an item on the agenda for the meeting of the north Mayo councillors. Following the redrawing of the electoral areas in Mayo prior to last June’s local elections, the village of Newport was spilt in two with the bridge being the dividing line between the Westport area and the newly extended Belmullet area.
The new bye-laws for the harbour, set out by the council, aim to regulate the movement and moorings in the harbour and to protect the amenity of the harbour for everyone in the area, the councillors were told. “I have no problem with these bye-laws as long as they don’t affect the people who are using the harbour 365 days of the year as opposed to someone who is only here one week in the year,” Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Coyle told the meeting.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael McNamara added: “I presume that these were draft bye-laws which were given to the members of the old electoral area before the change in boundaries, and now we are being asked to accept them without having any input.”
Independent Cllr Michael Holmes brought up the issue of where the electoral area committee control extends. “Is this all of Newport harbour or just our half of it? Has this been passed at the Westport area meeting?” he asked. Cllr McNamara was informed by director of services for the area Peter Hynes that it had been passed by the Westport area. “So they have eight councillors looking after them, good for them,” Cllr McNamara responded. Mr Hynes told the meeting: “These were brought in to regulate the use of the harbour and avoid conflicts between users, it will have to go before the full council for approval at the next meeting anyway.”