Late last year a local group called on local authorities to change the road signs leading into Castlebar to say 'City' centre instead of town to move the town towards city status. Since then online forums have been flooding with people calling for Castlebar to be made a city.
The fact is Castlebar is not the biggest town in Ireland (Drogheda is) but is City Status all about population? City status is about how the people are catered for. Do we have a functional water system? Do we have a functional sewage system? Do we have a large hospital? an ambulance base? capable of handling a growth in population? Many would say yes. Another urban myth is that a town needs a cathedral and a university but neither are true.
What are the benefits of city status? Marketing. The term city means a lot to a corporation. When we think of a city we think of densely populated hub full of activity. How can we get city status? The government can grant a town city status and with Enda Kenny the Taoiseach now could be the time. Although this would not come without anger from Sligo, Drogheda or Kilkenny.
A local authority can also declare city status upon its town. They can support and promote this by changing signs around he town and would not cost much money. Kilkenny is not legally a city but is referred to as a city by many and its signs say it is a city. Another example is Dunfermline in England who declared itself a city. Will it happen? I hope so.
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