From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Western People - 23 July 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
30, Jul 2003 - 08:24

Death of Aisling McGing

The Western reports on the death of Aisling McGing. Mayo ladies football was rocked at the weekend by the tragic death of double All-Ireland winner, Aisling McGing of Kinuary, Killawalla. The 18-year-old was on her way to watch older sisters, Michelle and Sharon, play for the Mayo ladies senior team in their Connacht championship clash with Galway, when the car in which she was a front seat passenger was involved in a collision with another car, at Ballyheane. She died later that evening from injuries sustained in the crash.

Such a sad event following another fatal accident not too long ago at Ballyheane in which young mother and her son were killed in another crash. The fact that a young couple and their four-month-old infant were killed in a crash in Wexford and three teenagers were killed the next day in Limerick suggests that the much-touted reduction in deaths due to the points system may have already run its course. What can be done? Someone pointed out a contrast in approach to enforcement between Ireland and Victoria State in Australia, which has a similar population to us. They have something like ten times the number of random drink-driving checks, much more speed checks and generally a very tough approach to enforcement. It won’t bring back any of the young people killed this week but it may prevent you or I joining the statistics sometime in the next year. It’s all very depressing as last Christmas there certainly was a great mood of optimism that we had finally cracked the road death problem.


‘Brave’ new plan eases the way for housing in countryside

According to the Western, the County Development Plan has been revised by Mayo County Councillors. Up to two thousand amendments have been made to the original draft plan following a series of meetings and workshops held by members of the authority in recent weeks. According to Mr Joe Loftus, Director of Corporate Affairs, there was a "very full and frank debate which has resulted in a very brave draft Plan."…. The Plan also recognises that there is, in the county, a "distinctive and traditional" settlement pattern, based on the clachan and the straidbhaile, and that this concept should be preserved in the Plan while at the same time protecting the valuable landscape resources and re-inforcing rural communities by seeking to strengthen these settlements by "appropriately scaled infill development" and the avoidance of linear and ribbon development. A further objective of the Plan will be to consider "proposals for small indepth and informal clusters of not more than 4/5 houses in open countryside for the permanent needs of families.

This is interesting – have they omitted the ‘dispersed’ village idea promoted by the Rural Dwellers Association? If so – good as this appears to be merely a justification for one-off and ribbon housing under another name. I am suspicious though, bearing in mind my comments last week, however, that a majority of the County Councillors who have steered this plan through are either auctioneers or owners of land banks with a lot to gain by tweaking the development plan. I guess a detailed reading of the revised plan will be necessary to see where the loopholes are and of course the reality will be seen when the plan fails to operate as it should and ribbon and one-off development continues unabated. The plan goes on display next month – the current version is available on line for a start have a look at the existing plan on Mayo County Council’s web site. Then compare with the update.

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