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Local Papers Commentary

Connaught Telegraph 7 Jan 2004
Jan 13, 2004, 18:59

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Western rail link to reopen in stages

Plans are progressing in Government to reopen the closed Sligo to Limerick rail link now known as the ‘Western Rail Corridor’ – in stages. The first piece of track to welcome back passenger and freight services after a gap of several decades would probably be the disused section which links Tuam with Galway City via Athenry.

Town Council Motions

That the members of Castlebar Town Council agree to provide the monies for the funding of the complete waiver in respect of refuse and water charges in respect of National & Secondary schools, out of the monies included in the 2003 estimate for the Famine Monument and that the Famine monument Fund would be reimbursed in the 2004 estimate of expenses (submitted by Councillor Durcan.)

Transfer of water functions to save ratepayers 300,000

The water functions of Castlebar Town Council are being transferred to Mayo County Council. Town Manager Mr. Ray Norton, told the meeting of the Town Council that it has been brought into law and no discussion can change that. But he urged the councillors to approve it now so that it will remain until their charge of 2004, giving them 12 months to discuss the terms and conditions with Mayo County Council.

Regarding the Western Rail Corridor I will believe it when I see it! But then the Harcourt Street line is effectively being reopened in Dublin with the Luas – so maybe the redundant railway lines that we still cross over on main roads all up and down the west coast will one day return to level crossing status with barriers, bells and flashing lights. They have become tourists attractions in some places – Kiltimagh, for example, has a sculpture park in the old railway station. And they make nice cross country walking paths. In many places, however, the lines have been blocked off for private use and are not no longer open to walkers.

There’s a list of motions to the Town Council including the school waiver one above which was not accepted. I’m intrigued, however, as to what the Famine Memorial Fund is – presumably a fund that wasn’t spent last year? Where will it be located? Who is designing it? Will it be as effective as the Murrisk memorial?

A saving of 300,000 sounds like a big saving for the Town Council. The report by Toni Bourke includes a mention of the fact that Cllr Blackie Gavin’s job may be in danger - as he is the town plumber. Having called for Ray Norton’s resignation last week, it now appears that he may have to move to Mayo County Council along with the water functions? Does that mean that Blackie will have to run for Mayo County Council instead of Castlebar Town Council?

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