From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News - 8 Dec 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
12, Dec 2004 - 13:35

Army option proposed for Castlebar parking chaos

CASTLEBAR business man and town councillor, Brendan Heneghan, has called for temporary parking facilities to be made available at the Military Barracks in Castlebar for the Christmas season. With the shopping boom gains momentum in the county town, the two car parks at Dunne’s and Tesco’s are full even on week mornings by 11am, while the Market Square and Castle Street car parks are usually full from early in the morning, all year round, leaving drivers circling the town in search of an increasingly elusive parking space. With a number of new store openings in Castlebar in the run-up to Christmas, including Argos which is expected to draw thousands of shoppers from around the county over the next few weeks, it is only worse the festive parking headache is going to get.

It’s incredible. Even going to Mass on a Sunday now is a major logistic exercise as to where to park the car. Car boot rubbish sales pop up apparently at random. The last Sunday of the month rule was certainly broken this week. St. Patrick’s School has decided to close off their car park – even though the Parish paid it for in part at least – you would imagine that at least it could be open on a Sunday morning.

But dog-in-the-manger rules today and I doubt very much whether or esteemed Mayor will manage to make a dent in the Minister of Justice’s plans to sell the barracks or get OPW or whoever looks after ex-army buildings to budge and let anyone use it for parking. And the barriers at the library and swimming pool are set to come into action too – tokens needed or pay per park I suspect. I’m not against paying for parking – it might help to make it easier to find a space when you really need to be right outside the shop you are going to. But maybe the best way to think of it is as a 'health thing'. A busy Castlebar means a healthier population who have to walk much longer from their car to their workplace or to the shop for that newspaper. And even if you have a few bags to carry back to the car it’s very good for your arm muscles to use them once in a while for carrying something heavier than a mobile phone!

‘Glorified boreen’ open for Christmas

"The road that nobody wanted," linking Mountain View and Hopkins Road in Castlebar, is finally open, but some have said too soon. While it is a Mayo County Council project, members of Castlebar Town Council were aggrieved when funding was sanctioned for the relief road in advance of other priority projects in the town. At one stage it was even proposed by former town councillor, Frank Durcan (Ind) and Cllr. Michael Kilcoyne (Ind) that development of the road be abandoned and the funding used to gain access to the Castle Street Car park from the Barracks Bridge, but Director of Services, Ray Norton, insisted that funding had been granted over a number of years and the project couldn’t be abandoned. At the time (July 2003), Cllr. Frank Durcan told a meeting of the Town Council that "it was strange that funding was available for a road that nobody wanted when the whole town was crying out for the Barracks Bridge Road."

The centre of gravity of the town has now definitely shifted away from the Bolgers/Dunnes derelict site. The proposed Barracks Bridge road would certainly be a boon and maybe help to redress the current imbalance. But there’s no doubt that with Argos now open additional chaos will ensue in the general area between Dunnes/Tescos, Aldi and Argos. That whole area would grind to a halt without the little bit of relief provided by the new road which seems to have cut a chunk off the Protestant graveyard there next to the TF. Were any graves disturbed? It maybe a boreen but it's better than rattling down the potholes in car park at the back of the TF as a shortcut.

Vandalism at Claremorris beauty spot

THERE was widespread disgust and disappointment in Claremorris last week, following acts of vandalism at one of the town’s most scenic locations. Picturesque Clare Lake, which has been turned in to one of the town’s most attractive leisure areas in recent years, was the latest target for mindless vandals who are bent on destruction. A bench situated by the water was uprooted and thrown into the lake, a railing on the walkway fence was damaged, concrete piping was smashed and the place was littered with empty beer cans and other rubbish, when they one night struck last week. This follows numerous other serious incidents in the town in recent weeks, including the slashing of tyres and damage to car exteriors. Speaking to The Mayo News on Monday, Pat Walsh, treasurer of the Clare Lake Development Committee, strongly condemned the damage done.

The Gardai blamed the trouble on lack of by-laws preventing public drinking which makes it difficult for them to put a stop to sessions before they get out of hand. Drinking by the lake seems to be popular in Claremorris - just as it is in Castlebar. Obviously the roots go deeper than just drink-fuelled rage that drives kids to destroy public furniture and leave their litter of beer-cans behind them. Tyre slashing sounds like a much more sinister organised criminal thing than mere littering and uprooting benches no matter how painful the latter is for those who went to the trouble of installing them in the first place. But it’s unlikely that our politicians have the slightest clue as to what to do about this. If they can’t give the Gardai a simple by-law to help them control the symptoms what hope is there? They have no concept of town-planning or even the vaguest idea that the way we lay out our towns and the facilities that are provided can affect law and order and lead to the kind of incidents reported by the Mayo News. But then Claremorris took on its present shape and form under the same kind of auctioneer-property-speculation-politician type of regime that gave us the quagmire that is poorly planned Dublin. Even in Claremorris it was build houses – full stop – lots of housing estates quick so that people can commute to Galway to work to pay for outlandish mortgages. So much time spent commuting and working such that few, if any, have any time to invest in the local community. Proper youth facilities, creches for children, who the F cares about that kind of stuff they say? No money for us in that say the auctioneer-politicians. We reap what we sow. And you elected them.

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