Ballina councillors call for assurances over salmon centre

A motion by Fine Gael councillor John O’Hara calling for Fergus O’Dowd TD, Minister for State with responsibility for inland fisheries to prioritise the development of the National Salmon Life Centre in Ballina, got the full backing of all the members of the Ballina Electoral Area Committee this week. Cllr O’Hara brought the motion forward following the announcement that Inland Fisheries Ireland had plans to develop a interpretative visitors centre in Cong.

The issue was already raised by Michelle Mulherin TD in the Dáil at the end of January when the news first broke of the proposed Cong site. The proposed National Salmon Life Centre in Ballina has been in the works for a number of years and a large amount of money has already been spent on feasibility study, with plans having been drawn up for the centre at the Ridge Pool in Ballina, and it moving through ‘part eight’ planning permission before last Christmas. Having a second salmon interpretative centre within the same county is an unworkable situation, the members of the committee agreed.

There was full support for the proposal from the other councillors on the committee, with Cllr Annie May Reape suggesting that this should be brought straight to the Taoiseach, not just the Minister of State. While Cllr Gerry Ginty said that if the Taoiseach wanted to do one thing to reward the work of John Walkin, whom he was full of praise for when he received the Mayo Person of the Year award last weekend, it would be to ensure that this project in Ballina went ahead.


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