The elected members of Ballina Town Council were mired in disagreement of the second phase of the traffic management plan in the town at the April meeting of the town council this week.
Six of the members expressed their unreserved wishes that the plan be reversed to what was in operation before the change, while the other three stated that seeing as the plan has not been fully implemented yet the council should see it out in its entirety before any decision is made. Independent councillors Mary Kelly and Gerry Ginty along with Fianna Fáil Cllr Johnny O’Malley all were on the side of letting the plan be tried in its entirety, while the other members Willie Nolan, Mark Winters, Barry McLoughlin, Peter Clarke, Josie Egan and Méara Francis McAndrew all called for the plan to be reversed immediately.
The matter came up at the meeting as they considered a report from town engineer Orla Burke to the town manager on the issue. She outlined in her report four possible options for the plan. In her report she recommended that the elements of the second phase that are currently in operation be made permanent immediately and she also stated that the reversal will cause unnecessary confusion to the public who have now benefited from the improved traffic flow.
A key part of the plan is the construction of a link road from Market Road to Pearse Street, but she outlined that a temporary road could be put in to link up the two areas to judge the full effect of the traffic management plan. However there was a strong reaction from the members who said that they wanted the traffic plan to go back to what it was. Méara Francis McAndrew told the meeting that “this has not worked and it will never work, I have been very patient on this issue, but it has been a disaster.”
Fine Gael Cllr Mark Winters wanted the members to vote on the issue and he was backed by Fianna Fáil Cllr Willie Nolan, despite the members being told that the implementation of the plan was an executive decision of the council managment not for the councillors to decided. Cllr Winters told the meeting that he would hope that the council managment would listen to what the councillors had to say.
There was no vote taken on the matter, with Cllr Mary Kelly telling the meeting that “from what everyone has said it is clear where all the members stand on the issue” while Cllr Gerry Ginty said that “I have no problem in voting on this and saying where I stand, none at all.”