Mayo County Council

  • A special meeting of Mayo County Council will take place tomorrow to discuss the ban on Councillors discussing planning issues at their municipal meetings.

    Elected councillors requested a special meeting, where they will call for the reinstatement of planning issues on the agenda for municipal district meetings.

    This follows a directive issued earlier this year by the Minister for Housing & Local Government Eoghan Murphy.

    The circular, issued to city and county council chief executives, said it was not appropriate for councillors to discuss planning issues at their meetings

     

  • A special meeting of Mayo County Council will take place this afternoon at 2pm   - to look at the local authority’s responsibility for what happened to residents of Tuam’s Mother and Baby Home.

    The special meeting was requested last month by Independent Westport councillor Christy Hyland and was unanimously supported by councillors in response to the 3,000 page Commission of Investigation Report into Mother and Baby Homes, published last month.

    The report indicated that close to a third of the residents of the Bon Secours run Tuam Mother and Baby home were from county Mayo.

    Breeda Murphy of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance says it’s appropriate that Mayo County Council acknowledge its responsibility to residents of the home from 1931 through to the 1960s.

    Breeda has been outlining to Midwest News today the extent of the links between Mayo County Council and the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam and its impact on young mothers and their children.

     

  • An attempt to shake up the structure of the Audit committee on Mayo county council failed to get enough support from councillors, at this week’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

    Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn had sought to make a number of changes to the make-up and operation of the committee, as he sees the present structure as outdated, costly and  lacking in gender balance.

    But the 5 member Audit Committee of Mayo County Council, the group that oversees the local authority’s finances remains as it was,  made up of 3 external members and 2 elected councillors, all five receiving the maximum remuneration for their input, despite the strain at present on the local authority’s finances.

    Councillor Flynn’s motion to change the structure was lost on a vote of 16 against changes and 14 for the proposed shake-up.

  • Mayo County Council has told Midwest News that the R313 Regional Road from Blacksod to Belmullet will remain closed for the duration of today.

     

    The extended closure time is as a result of damage which appears to have been caused to a section of the road as a result of the storm.

     

    In the interest of public safety, the road will remain closed with local diversions in place, until such time as this damage can be fully assessed.

     

    It is anticipated that one lane of the road will open for public use tomorrow.

  • A yellow weather warning has been issued nationwide as high winds are set to batter the country over the coming days.

    A weather system, expected to be named Storm Callum, will hit Ireland tomorrow night.

    People have been urged to prepare for severe weather heading into the weekend as the effects of Hurricane Leslie, which is further to the south, will also be felt.

    Last night, Met Éireann updated its weather warning to yellow across the country, with risks of damaging gusts, especially along the west and northwest coast.

    There are also risks of coastal flooding, and the warning is in place from 11pm tomorrow night until 9pm on Saturday night.

     

    Mayo County Council's Road Safety Office is calling on householders to pack up their garden furniture and trampolines ahead of the stormy weather expected this weekend.

    Trampolines in particular can take to the skies in gale force winds, and Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons is advising people to dismantle their trampoline for the Winter period and put it into storage.

    Bikes, wheelie bins and anything kept outside that could get damaged by stormy weather should be secured or stowed away where possible.

    The Road Safety office is also urging motorists to prepare for challenging driving conditions over the coming days, as gale force winds make it more difficult to control a vehicle, while heavy rain can greatly increase stopping distances.

    Drivers should also be on the lookout for vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

     

     

  • Tributes were paid at yesterday's monthly meeting of Mayo County Council to four councillors who are retiring from local politics, having decided not to contest next week's local election.

    Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Councillor Blackie Gavin led the tributes to FG Councillor Henry Kenny and Independent Councillors Frank Durcan, Michael Holmes and Gerry Ginty, and thanked them for their service to the county.

  • Breeda Murphy of the Tuam Mother and Baby Alliance addressed a Special Meeting of Mayo County Council this afternoon and she called on the local authority to open its archives/ files related to the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

    Councillors called on Council Management to do so.

    The meeting was convened to look at the local authority’s responsibility for what happened to residents of Tuam’s Mother and Baby Home, in response to the 3,000 page Commission of Investigation Report into Mother and Baby Homes, published last month.

    The report indicated that close to a third of the residents of the Bon Secours run Tuam Mother and Baby home were from county Mayo.

    An emotional Breeda told cllrs today that its appropriate that Mayo County Council acknowledges its responsibility to residents of the home from 192Os through to the 1960s.

    The Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Richard Finn opened proceedings by apologising for what occurred in the institutions when Mayo County Council, like other local authorities, was responsible for the County Boards of Health.

    The CE of Mayo County Council Peter Duggan also apologised for what occurred to woman and children in Mother and Baby Homes and he said the local authority will assist and support the package of national redress promised by the Taoiseach, when he formally apologised on behalf of the state for what happened to the former residents of these institutions.

    Cllr Jarlath Munnelly said “sorry” is an important part of any healing process and it needs to be said, but in addition we all need to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It is important now, he said to focus on survivors and ensure we work them that they now have a voice.

    Independent cllr Christy Hyland said it’s not right that survivors had to pay for their own legal advice, if they wanted it, to engage with the commission of investigation report.   The Commission, he said, says it has no evidence that adoptions were paid for, but they conducted these interviews electronically and that was not the appropriate method in order to secure the truth and evidence required. Children of 12 and thirteen were sent to the home in Tuam pregnant but there is no reference to criminal reports into what had happened to them  - how they became pregnant in the Commission report.

    Among the proposals of cllr Hyland at the meeting is for Mayo County Council to set up an annual bursary for survivors,

    Mark Duffy said its understood that up to 200 Mayo babies born in Tuam died and their names may not be recorded and the location of their burial remains unclear and he said we need clarity around these lives.

    Cllr Donna Sheridan said an appropriate memorial to honour the woman and children needs to go out for public consultation . “We need to ensure any records held by MCC are made available”, she stated.

    Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said sorry is one thing, and while the report is welcome, it happened and survivors now need redress. The reality is that some survivors have been refused medical cards and housing and we continue to fail these people. He added that Mayo County Council hadtransferred all records related to the institution to the Western Health board in the 1970s and now, he said,  they need to be available to those who want and need them.

    Cllr Annie Mae Reape thanked Breda for coming in with her “heart wrenching” presentation. Cllr Reape said she was shocked at the report of commission of Investigation and added that words won’t change what happened to mothers and children.

    Breeda concluded her contribution thanking the councillors for all of their responses.

    But she said Mayo County Council has relevant archives. She said people were trafficked  through orphanages, laundries, county homes and  administrative records up to 1961 are in council buildings and pleaded with the local authority to  employ an archivist to look at these records.

    She said Galway County Council has opened all their records and hosted the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Survival group and let them look at their records

    Peter Duggan assured Breeda that any records / archives on file by Mayo County Council are open to anyone who requires them.

     

  • Mayo County Council in a collaborative development with Mayo GAA has today announced that it has acquired land at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar and intends to develop it for the purposes of sport, tourism and recreation. The 27 acres of land is adjacent to Lough Lannagh Holiday Village, the new Castlebar Swimming Pool and GMIT.

    The land will be developed into two sections, a Mayo GAA Training Centre, which will comprise of 3 pitches to facilitate the training and development of youth teams and the support of the Ladies Football team, as well as providing facilities for high performance teams visiting the Centre and staying in the Lough Lannagh Holiday Village.

    Mike Connolly, Chairman of Mayo GAA welcomed today’s announcement saying the Mayo GAA Training Centre is something that the GAA has been working on for a long time and he said he is delighted to be able to announce that this will now become a reality.

    The Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Blackie Gavin says Lough Lannagh is becoming a sporting hub in the Castlebar area with the Tennis club, Boxing club and new Swimming Pool already in situ and the local authority is delighted to become centrally involved in the area also.  The lands acquired by Mayo County Council will be developed as part of an overall Sports Tourism Development Plan, which will see the existing walkways around the lake extended, as well as other leisure and sports tourism facilities. The acquisition will also facilitate the connection of the Greenway at Lough Lannagh to the wider Great Western Greenway which is planned to follow on from the new N5 route between Castlebar and Westport.

    Peter Hynes, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council says it’s a major step for the Castlebar region and for the county, the acquisition has significant potential in the areas of sports tourism, public amenity and sports development. The unique project which is the result of a strategic partnership between Mayo County Council and Mayo GAA addresses a longstanding objective to develop sports and recreational tourism in this county, Mr Hynes concluded.

  • Two Mayo County Council projects were among the winners at the LAMA awards in Dublin at the weekend.

    The Local Authority Members Association awards ceremony took place at Croke Park on Saturday night, where council and community representatives attended to collect two bronze awards.

    Protecting the Great Yellow Bumblebee - a project which spreads awareness about maintaining a healthy bee population -won bronze in the Best Environmental /Ecological project category.

    And Mayo County Council also won a bronze award in the Best Connected Council category with Mayo.ie Connecting With our Communities.

    A total of 6 Mayo projects had been nominated for the annual awards, which celebrate  community and councils working together on novel and progressive projects.

    The Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Councillor Brendan Mulroy has congratulated those involved in the two Mayo projects that brought home national awards, and to the other finalists.

     

  • Mayo County Council’s dedicated community support helpline set up to co-ordinate local organisations to assist citizens during Covid-19, is receiving up to 50 calls a day.

    The helpline has been operational since 8am on Monday morning last and stays open each day until 8pm.

    The staff manning the centre are based at Mayo House in Castlebar and they are in contact with the wide number of voluntary organisations set up across the county to assist anyone self-isolating or cocooning during the present public health emergency.

    The helpline number for county Mayo is 094 9064660

    Similar Covid-19 Community Response Helplines are now in place in all counties in the region and are co-ordinated by the relevant Local Authority in each case.

    The COVID-19 Mayo County Council Community Response Forum includes Mayo County Council, the HSE, the Gardai and other community, voluntary and sporting organisations.

    John Magee is Acting Director of Services with Mayo County Council and he spoke  today to Midwest News about the volume of calls the Mayo Helpline is dealing with daily at present.

  • Mayo County Council has today welcomed the news that US Vice President Mike Pence is considering a visit to Ireland later this year.

    In a statement to Midwest News it says that its records show that Vice President Pence’s grandfather Richard Michael Cawley, was born in Doocastle, Co Mayo growing up in the area before emigrating to Chicago.

    The local authority is anticipating a potential Autumn visit for the Vice President to his ancestral home and looks forward to welcoming him to Doocastle, if he decides to include it in his schedule.

  • The Chief Executive of Mayo county Council Peter Hynes says he is hopeful that the complications preventing the monies being paid out to voluntary groups across the county under GMA funding, may resolved before the June monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

    The withholding of payments to the voluntary groups of monies allocated by elected councillors ,has been causing extensive controversy.

    The groups impacted include festival committees, tidy town groups and residents associations among others.

    Elected councillors were advised by council management last month that the GMA fund was being withheld until they could resolve the shortfall in income from car parking charges that had been agreed by councillors in their 2018 budget.

    At yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County council Fine Gael councillor John Cribben called on the Chief Executive to immediately pay out the funds allocated to the voluntary groups, who he argued need the monies now.

    Mr Hynes explained that there are complications in the paying out of the fund but he said he is engaging in discussions with the Municipal Districts Managers and he is confident that the issues will be resolved before the next monthly meeting of the council.

    Claremorris councillor Tom Connolly said he was not prepared to see any increase in car parking charges in the Claremorris Municipal District to compensate for the failure of West Mayo councillors introducing street car parking charges in Westport.

    “We won’t subsidise Westport”, he insisted.

  • Householders and businesses in parts of Swinford are without a water supply this morning.

    Midwest News contacted Irish Water to ask what was causing the disruption to the supply.

    In a statement Irish Water says, working in partnership with Mayo County Council, it is working to locate what appears to be a significant burst in the Swinford area.

    “Once the burst is located and assessed a timeframe will be put in place for repairs to be completed.

    Customers with queries should keep an eye on water.ie supply and services section for further updates.

    Customers can also call the dedicated Irish Water customer care helpline on 1850 278 278”.

  • A project to provide free public Wi-Fi hotspots in a number of locations across County Mayo was signed in Áras an Chontae today, with work on connections starting in the coming weeks.

    The Wifi4EU scheme is an initiative of the European Commission which provides funding to local authorities to provide free Wi-Fi access in public places.

    Mayo County Council secured €60,000 under the WiFi4EU initiative and the Department of Rural and Community Development matched that sum, bringing the total funding for this project in County Mayo to €120,000.

    Westnet Broadband Mayo Ltd were awarded the contract to roll out the initiative, which was signed in Áras an Chontae today.

    Nine locations in Mayo have already been selected to host this new service.

    They are; Belmullet, Newport, Ballina, Crossmolina, Swinford, Ballinrobe, Claremorris, Castlebar & Turlough.