Ballina Municipal District

  • At yesterday’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District , councillors were critical of Minister Shane Ross’s proposals to introduce incremental fines for speeding, accusing the Minister of being out of touch with rural communities .

    Earlier this week, the Transport Minister presented a proposed new system for fining motorists caught speeding, to his cabinet colleagues. The new system would see motorists charged a higher amount and given higher penalty points, the more they're caught driving over the speed limit.

    All but one of the elected councillors at yesterday’s meeting spoke against the proposals and accused Minister Ross of frightening rural people with what they termed “kite flying”.

    They said the Minister appeared to have briefed the media about his proposals before he went into Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

     Independent councillor Seamus Weir was the first cllr yesterday to condemn the Minister’s proposals.The proposals are that anyone  caught 10 kilometres over the speed limit will get 2 penalty points and an 80 euro fine, while  a driver 30 kilometres over would get 6 points on their licence and a 200 euro fine.All councillors with the exception of Independent cllr Gerry Ginty were highly critical of these proposals yesterday.

    In addition the Minister is proposing an 80 euro fine and automatic penalty points for any driver who doesn't have their drivers licence to hand if they're pulled over by the Gardai.

    That part of Minister Ross’s proposals was condemned by all cllrs, including cllr Ginty – saying it was impractical, if for example, you had to bring someone to a hospital in an emergency,  it’s unreasonable they argued  to expect a driver to first check if their drivers licence is in their pocket.

    The Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, FF cllr Michael Smyth said it is important to have public debate and engagement about proposals like these that will impact on all drivers, but particularly on rural road users, and in light of the new drink driving laws that are also impacting more on rural rather than urban communities.

    At the outset all cllrs said they appreciate that speed can kill and that drink driving is not acceptable and they condemned both - but at the same time, they do not believe that punitive penalties and fines is the only answer – as they argued they hit rural communities more.

     

  • Ballina councillors have called for an immediate meeting with the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, as Mr Hynes is withholding  the paying out of GMA monies, that is the monies that a range of voluntary organisations across the county receive annually from the local authority.

    It appears that the monies are being withheld, because the anticipated funding that the local authority budgeted for from car parking charges, is short 400,000 euro.

    Director of Services for Mayo County Council Tom Gilligan told angry councillors yesterday at the monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District that the monies are being withheld while a process is underway to see how the 400,000 euro shortfall from Pay and Display car parking charges that were agreed by councillors in the budget can now be resolved.

    It was a long, and at times, angry meeting, where elected councillors  simply refused to accept the response of Director of Services Tom Gilligan – and eventually called for Peter Hynes, the man in charge, the CEO of the county, to come and talk to them himself.

    Councillors said that a number of organisations in Ballina are dependent on receiving the GMA contribution at this time of the year, like the 20,000 euro that Ballina Salmon Festival has been promised, monies to Ballina Arts Centre, funding to Tidy Towns, residents associations, the chamber and so on.

    Without the money, a variety of festival committees will be hit, the councillors claimed.

    They  said if the revenue from Pay and Display car parking charges is not what was agreed in the budget, insinuating that Westport’s refusal to introduce street car parking charges was the main cause of the shortfall, than why should voluntary organisations in Ballina have to pay for that?

    Councillors asked why the GMA allocation that had to be hit, why not take back some of the funding they allocated to the LEO office, or councillors' expenses or any other item in the budget?

    But despite the volume of questions the answer by the Director of Services remained the same – the process to look at how the shortfall in the agreed budget can be resolved is underway and the GMA will not be paid out until it is resolved.

    Fianna Fail councillor Annie Mae Reape is the Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District and she told Midwest News that they are now demanding answers directly from Mr Hynes.

     

     

  • Ballina Councillors have called on Mayo County Council to ring-fence 4 million euro for the repair of footpaths across the county, from a dividends payment due to the authority.

    Irish Public Bodies is paying dividends to local authorities nationally and the windfall should be used for footpath repairs according to Killala based Fine Gael Councillor Jarlath Munnelly.

    He made the call at this week’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District and his motion received unanimous support from Councillors.

  • A wreath laying ceremony  & civic reception is being accorded today by Ballina Municipal District  to commemorate  the 220th anniversary of the arrival of French General Humbert to County Mayo in 1798. ( Blian na bhFrancach – “The Year of the French”

     A wreath will be laid at Humbert’s Monument  in Ballina  at 17:30 p.m this evening and the civic reception will take place in Ballina Civic Office Chamber at 18:30 p.m. 

  • Erecting  80km per hour speed signs along third class/ minor roads across the county is almost an invitation for visitors to travel that speed on roads that simply can’t accommodate that speed and many local communities are concerned about the development.

    That’s according to Killala based Fine Gael Councillor Jarlath Munnelly and the Councillor raised his concern at this week’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District. He called instead for speed limiting signs to be erected along such routes.

  • Councillors in Ballina today deferred a decision to extend a lease on a building being used by the Men’s Shed in the town.

    The group currently use the former Astoria Cinema as their base and there was a motion down at today’s meeting to extend that lease by 5 years.

    The Men’s Shed say they will find it difficult to secure funding for projects, if they don’t have the certainty of a 5-year lease.

    Senior Executive Officer with Ballina Municipal District Marie Crowley told the meeting that while there was nobody interested in buying the building at this very moment, there is a potential for development in that area and because of that they could not commit to giving a 5-year lease.

    It was agreed that Councillors will meet with representatives of the Men’s Shed to try and agree a clause that could be inserted in any agreement in relation to the building.

  • The lack of available land on which to build social housing is a problem across Co Mayo.

    That’s according to Ballina Councillor Gerry Ginty, Chairperson of Mayo County Council’s Strategic Housing Committee.

    He claims that much of the land designated for housing is owned by private developers.

    Councillor Ginty is also concerned about the number of objections to social housing developments, and says many of the objectors may not realise that members of their own families may need social housing in the coming years.

    Councillor Ginty raised the matter at a recent meeting of the Ballina Municipal District, where there are over 500 people on the housing list at present.

    He again raised the issue of the colour scheme on a new social housing development at Marian Crescent in Ballina, where he says the colours used make the houses stand out “like a sore thumb”.

    Councillor Ginty believes social housing developments should blend in well with neighbouring properties, and this may lead to fewer objections.

  • A pensioner in this region, sends himself a letter every Friday when he comes into the post office to collect his pension, so that at least he will see the postman once a week. That’s the level of isolation and loneliness being experienced by people livening in parts of rural Ireland, according to Foxford based Fine Gael councillor Neil Cruise.

    The councillor was among a number of councillors who at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District condemned what they termed the “kite flying” that the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross engaged in earlier this week, proposing a new system of incremental speed limit penalties for motorists, in view of the already harsh drink driving laws now in operation that are leaving many elderly feeling trapped in their own homes.

    The councillors accused the Minister of being out of touch with rural communities .

     On Tuessday, the Transport Minister presented a proposed new system for fining motorists caught speeding, to his cabinet colleagues. The new system would see motorists charged a higher amount and given higher penalty points, the more they're caught driving over the speed limit.

    At the outset of yesterday’s debate all cllrs said they appreciate that speed can kill and that drink driving is not acceptable and condemned both - but at the same time, they do not believe that punitive penalties and fines is the only answer – as they argued they hit rural communities more.

    Cllr Cruise outlined to Midwest News his increasing concern for many elderly people living in areas without access to any public transport.

  • Tributes were paid at today’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District to the father-of-two who died tragically in a plane crash near Ballina less than two weeks ago.

    Michael McCarrick, who was in his 50’s, died when his 2-seater plane came down in a field at Breaffy, near Ballina, on 4th May.

    A native of Cloonacool in Co Sligo, Mr McCarrick from Belleek, Ballina was an ESB employee.

    He’s survived by his wife Breege Gordon, a longtime employee of Mayo County Council in the Ballina district, two children and extended family.

    Today’s meeting of the Ballina Municipal District meeting, which is being held in Bonniconlon, was adjourned for 20 minutes as a mark of respect.