Smoking councillor clashes with ban suggestion from newest member

The council chamber enjoyed a rare laugh this week when unreformed smoker Cllr Fintan Cooney bristled at a suggestion for banning smoking from the town park playground, saying such a move would “eliminate grandparents”.

The suggestion was made by Cllr Niamh Kiernan - a creche owner - during a discussion about the adoption of new bylaws for the recently renovated town park at this week’s meeting of the Mullingar area committee.

With more than a passing nod to said location’s colourful past, Cllr Aidan Davitt wondered aloud: “Sure, next they’ll want to ban drinking there!”

After a two-year facelift costing €750,000, the council has deemed the new resource as worthy of an update for the bylaws governing its use.

Apart from the suggested smoking ban, one of the other contentious issues discussed was whether to leave the park open all night.

Cllr Cooney was in favour of this, saying that when it is closed people climb over the gates and engage in “uncontrolled anti-social behaviour”, and was of the opinion it would be easier policed if permanently open.

Cllr Mick Dollard told the meeting how he had representations from nearby residents who had difficulty with noise from the park at night, while Cllr Ken Glynn said: “Well, we can finally make a decision one way or the other on this”.

A resolution was passed to put the draft bylaws on public display.


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