Mayo County Council

  • It has come to light that funding previously committed by Mayo County Council  for a comprehensive language plan is no longer forthcoming to Gnó Mhaigh Eo , leaving the organisation in jeopardy in January 2019.

    Following the announcement in July by Minister of State Joe McHugh that a comprehensive language plan would be prepared for Castlebar as an official Gaeltacht Service Town, Gnó Mhaigh Eo, has been appointed as the lead organisation to spearhead this process.

    The news comes with a commitment of €20,000 initially to prepare the language plan, and then a further €100,000 annually over seven years to implement the plan.

    Combined with the annual funding committed to Gnó Mhaigh Eo by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, this would see an investment of over €1.7 million euro in the provision of Irish language services over the next seven years.

    However, it has come to light that funding previously committed by Mayo County Council is no longer forthcoming to Gnó Mhaigh Eo, leaving this organisation in jeopardy in January 2019.

    Prior to the restructuring of the local government, Gnó Mhaigh Eo received funding from each Town Council.

    Although this funding was verbally committed under the new structure of the Municipal Districts, this money has not been made available to the organisation.

    As there are funding agreements in place with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, based on a certain percentage of local investment, the future of the organisation is left hanging in the balance.

    Freeda Nic Giolla Chathain is the CEO of Gnó Mhaigh Eo says a more definite structure in funding is needed to protect the Irish language in the county.

  • Mayo County Council have this afternoon confirmed to Midwest news that they currently have Consultants working on a safety barrier design for the Foxford to Ballyvary Road on the N58.

    This is as a result of numerous concerns raised over a section of the roadway between Foxford and Straide since improvement works were carried out on it some time ago.

    During the course of the work, the road was raised and since then it has been extremely dangerous because of a deep drop on either side.

    This location did not previously have a safety barrier installed and the lack of a sufficient width of roadside verge has resulted in it not being possible to install a standard barrier in this case.

    Mayo County Council say their consultants in conjunction with TII are testing various barrier options to find a solution which is in accordance with the relevant specification and a further trial is due to be undertaken in the coming week.

    Once a barrier design has been passed and approved a contractor will then be procured and the barrier installed.

    The issue has been raised on a number of occasions by Councillor Neil Cruise who again raised the matter on Midwest Radio this week.

  • The cost to parents when school buildings are used as polling stations has been highlighted by a Kiltimagh mother to Mayo County Council.

    Aine Carr says she believes the local authority could find alternative venues in Kiltimagh on election days instead of the local primary school, forcing working parents to find childcare or take a day off work.

    She says she has no childcare available to her on days that the school closes for elections or referenda  and there are many parents in a similar situation.

    She suggests a number of suitable alternative venues in Kiltimagh including the Town Hall Theatre, Community Centre or Parish Centre

  •  There needs to be more transparency by Mayo County Council as to where the 100,000 euro raised each year through car parking charges in Ballina town is spent.

    That’s the view of Independent candidate in the Ballina Municipal District, Mark Duffy.

    Mark told Midwest News today that it is not an even playing pitch, when some towns in the county have no car parking charges at all.

  • Mayo County Council is to write to Irish Water asking them to waive the fee for bringing a water connection into Taugheen Old Cemetery near Claremorris.

    At present, the cemetery does not have a water supply for people tending to flowers on graves, and Irish Water has quoted a connection fee of €13,000.

    The issue was discussed at a recent meeting of the Claremorris/ Swinford Municipal District, where Councillor Patsy O'Brien asked if GMA funding could be used to ensure a water connection to Taugheen Old Cemetery.

    It was agreed at the meeting that, before committing GMA funding, the council would ask Irish Water to waive the connection fee.

    Councillor O'Brien also asked the council to repair the boundary wall at the cemetery.

    He told Midwest News that it's important to show respect for those laid to rest in the cemetery  -some of whom were involved in setting up water schemes in the area.

  • Mayo county council now needs to assign the necessary staff to ensure that the 7 million euro digital hub and enterprise centre proposed for the former Military barracks in Ballina is progressed efficiently.  That’s the view of Ballina Fine Gael councillor John O’Hara.

    Earlier this month local Senator Michelle Mulherin announced details of three and a half million euro in government funding secured for the project.

    An additional 2.5 million euro is due to be allocated from government to the development next year, with a further one million euro from Mayo County Council.

    At the monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District councillor O’Hara suggested that the former garda barracks in the town had the potential to be used as a hostel to accommodate the many young people likely to be attracted to Ballina- as a digital and cultural hub.

  • Where is the increased revenue that Mayo county council is getting from increases to business rates being spent ? That was the question posed yesterday by Fine Gael councillor Jarlath Munnelly at the monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District.

    The councillor claims that while rates are increasing, services to the people of county Mayo are on the decline

    Cllr Munnelly outlined a 7.5 percent increase in business rates in the county last year, a proposed further 4 percent hike in rates for 2019, together with an increase in revenue from car parking charges across the county this year and yet he says the services that Mayo county council provides to the people of the county are deteriorating.

    He wants answers as to where this increased revenue is going, claiming that he and his party colleagues on Mayo county council voted against the adoption of last year’s budget for this reason, but were not supported by Fianna Fail cllrs working with Independent cllrs.

    At yesterday’s meeting he called for the GMA allocation, the General Municipal Allocation – funding in the control of councillors, to be doubled to the Ballina District Council in the 2019 budget, and his request was supported.

    Cllr Munnelly outlined to Midwest News today his concerns over services deficit as revenue to Mayo county council is on the rise.

  • “Mayo county council should hang its head in shame for the way it removed the memorial along the N5 that had been erected in memory of the late Joe Deacy”. That was the clear view expressed by independent Ballina councillor Gerry Ginty at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

    Speaking to Midwest News today, the councillor says he now hopes that Mayo County Council will allow the family of the young man to erect a memorial in his honour.

    21 years old Joe Deacy was found with head injuries outside a house at Gortnasillagh, Swinford in August of 2017. He later died of his injuries. Despite a number of arrests , no one has been charged in connection with his death.

    Earlier this year the council removed the memorial that had been erected by his family and friends between Bohola and Swinford, along the N5.

    Councillor Ginty insists it was a “shameful episode” by the local authority to remove a memorial in the way they did, when the family of Joe Deacy are still grieving and heartbroken by the circumstances of his death.

  • Mayo county council has 100,000 euro set aside in the event that the Pope does visit Knock this year.

    That was confirmed by council management at the Claremorris Municipal District earlier this week.

    Ballyhaunis based councillor John Cribben had asked if the authority was prepared for such an occasion.

    He was told that the monies and planning was in place.

  • It’s not acceptable that Erris contributes so significantly to the rates collected annually by Mayo County Council, yet the area fails to get a fair share of spending by the local authority in return. That’s the view expressed by Erris based Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle at yesterday’s West Mayo Municipal District meeting.

    The councillor says the Gas terminal in Ballinaboy now pays in excess of 3 million euro a year in rates to the local authority and the windfarms at Bellacorrick are ready to come on stream, yet he argues, the people affected most are not seeing any return for this new development.

    He told Midwest News that he has no problem with the entire county benefiting from rates collected county wide, but he says Erris is not getting a fair slice of the cake, in his opinion.


    County councillors are at the lowest rung of the political ladder – getting lots of the electorate’s problems to solve for the least amount of financial reward, and that is among the reasons why Fine Gael’s Henry Kenny will not contest next year’s local elections.

    The Castlebar councillor says that there is no “Kenny” likely to contest the seat he is vacating after 24 years, despite a “Kenny” having served as a Castlebar councillor since 1955.

    Last week, councillor  Kenny announced his decision to bow out of politics at the end of his present term on the local authority and he has been speaking to Midwest News about his decision.

  • There is an urgent need for public lighting in two private housing estates in Ballina town, that have not been taken in charge of by Mayo County Council.

    That’s the view of Independent Ballina cllr Mark Duffy.

    He raised the frustration and concern of residents in Ashbourne Grove on the Killala road, and the Arches in Ballina town centre, at the failure of the local authority in taking charge of both estates.

    The Cllr said the residents associations in both estates believe they have done all they can do to apply for their estate to be taken in charge of, but despite all the discussion- both set of residents remain in the dark, without public lighting , and incomplete road surfaces and footpaths.

    Council management explained that they are both private developments and said the local authority has no access to any fund to complete unfinished estates

    Speaking to Midwest News Cllr Duffy outlined his frustration with the lack of progress on the serious issue of householders having paid large sums to buy a home in an estate and that estate remaining unfinished for years.

  • Councillor Jarleth Munnelly has accused the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, of effectively blackmailing elected councillors  by the withholding of GMA funds to local voluntary groups.

    The Ballina based Fine Gael councillor made the statement at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District.

    Ballina councillors  have called for an immediate meeting with the Chief Executive  over the delay in the out of GMA  (General Municipal Allocation) monies, that is the monies that a range of voluntary organisations across the county receive annually from the local authority.

    It appears that the monies are being withheld, because the anticipated funding that the local authority budgeted for, from car parking charges, is short 400,000 euro.

    There were angry contributions from most councillors on the withholding of the funds at yesterday’s meeting. Director of Services for Mayo County Council Tom Gilligan stated and restated throughout the debate that the monies are being withheld while a process is underway to see how the 400,000 euro shortfall from Pay and Display car parking charges that were agreed by councillors in the budget can now be resolved.

    Councillors said that a number of organisations in Ballina are dependent on receiving the GMA contribution at this time of the year, like the 20,000 euro that Ballina Salmon Festival has been promised, monies to Ballina Arts Centre, funding to Tidy Towns, residents associations, the chamber and so on.Without the money, a variety of festival committees will be hit, they claimed.

    Cllr Munnelly told Midwest News today that he believes that Mr Hynes is effectively blackmailing councillors over the matter.

    400,000 euro is less than .003 percent of the overall county council budget in Mayo for 2018, according to Fianna Fail councillor Michael Smith. He insists that he wants in writing from the Director of Services – where it’s stated, that if monies anticipated are not secured through parking charges then that funding must be withheld to voluntary groups under GMA.

    In a brief statement from Mayo County Council today it says that the CEO Peter Hynes is at meetings outside of the County today but added he is always available to meet councillors and will meet the councillors of the Ballina Municipal District on this matter

  •  A regulator needs to be appointed by government to allow elected councillors to challenge or appeal any directive from a Minister, that’s the view of Swinford based Fianna Fail councillor Michael Smyth.

    The councillor was speaking at yesterday’s special meeting of Mayo county council that was called by elected councillors to reinstate planning as an item on the agenda of each Municipal District, as was the case until last year, when a directive from the Planning Minister Eoghan Murphy banned any planning discussions at council meetings.

    Councillors adjourned yesterday meeting and are now seeking independent legal advice on whether or not they can continue to make observations about planning at meetings of the authority.

  • The number of outdoor staff now employed by Mayo county Council is at a critical level, and if additional staff are not hired, than Charlestown based councillor Gerry Murray, claims he is fearful that health and safety issues will arise.

    The Cathaoirleach of the Claremorris Municipal District, raised his concerns at the monthly meeting of the authority.

    Cllr Murray said that over the past decade, 250 outdoor staff in the county have retired and have not been replaced by the local authority, and called for an immediate recruitment of additional staff to ensure that essential works can be carried out.

     He and other councillors pointed out that they had allocated funding for a range of outdoor jobs to be carried out, promised constituents that these works would be carried out, only to find there is no one available to carry out the work – and they as cllrs they were taking the wrath of the public on these jobs.

    Council official Liam Hanrahan strongly refuted any suggestion by the Cathaoirleach that there were health and safety issues arining due to the shortage of staff numbers. He insisted that a health and safety risk assessment is prepared before any job is undertaken and if there is inadequate staff or equipment on the day, the job is not carried out.

    He admitted that staffing levels had fallen but said recruitment is now underway and added that despite the lifting by the government of the embargo on recruitment, nonetheless staff numbers in the local authority are capped.

    Cathaoirleach Murray says his concerns remain the same.

  • A Westport based councillor is urging the general public to make a submission to Mayo County Council on it Corporate Plan 2019 to 2024.

    The Corporate Plan outlines the main infrastructural projects to be achieved in the county between now and 2024.

    Fine Gael cllr Peter Flynn says the local authority finally advertised for submissions to the plan, just before Christmas, and he believes it’s vital that people give their views on what they want to see delivered in the county by the present authority.

    Submissions can be made until 5pm on Friday January 24th.

    Cllr Flynn told Midwest News today that it's important that people's views are heard.

  • Today's monthly meeting of Mayo County Council was a much smaller event than usual, due to social distancing measures during the Coronavirus outbreak.

    Only 9 of the 30 elected councillors were in attendance at Aras an Condae, along with the council Chief Executive and two reporters.

    At the start of the meeting, all of those attending took part in a one-minute clap for the frontline staff working during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The applause was followed by a one-minute silence to remember the Mayo people who have died from the Covid-19 virus.

    In a report issued to Councillors this afternoon, Mayo Co Co said the Covid-19 outbreak in Mayo continues to escalate, particularly in residential care facilities, with new hot spots in the north of the county.

    The council says this is a major concern - as is the age profile of our community, and the large number of residential care and retirement homes - both public and private - throughout the county.

    The report says adherence to health authority guidelines, including travel and social distancing, will play a major part in determining how quickly the outbreak here can be brought under control.

    The latest county breakdown shows there are 312 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mayo - higher than the neighbouring Co Galway with 283 cases, and 76 in both Roscommon and Sligo.

    The Cathaoirleach of the Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne says questions need to be answered as to why Mayo has a higher rate of coronavirus, compared to Galway with much larger population.

    The Independent Councillor is also asking why the number of staff at Mayo University Hospital with confirmed or suspected cases of Cobid-19 is higher than at any other hospital in the Saolta Group.

  • The monthly meeting of Mayo County Council was adjourned early yesterday evening as a mark of respect to a number of elected councillors and council staff, who have been recently bereaved.

    The death has occurred of Sinn Fein councillor Joe McHale’s mother, the brother of Mulranny based Independent councillor Michael Holmes, the mother of the local authority’s financial controller Peter Duggan, and the son of the late Mayo county councillor and TD PJ Morley.

    Councillors and council management expressed their condolences on the deaths.

  • A Boil water notice has been issued for businesses and customers supplied by the Knock Airport Public Water Supply.

    Following advice from the HSE, Irish Water and Mayo County Council the notice has been put in place.

    This also affects Cloonlyon Group Water Scheme along with Knock Airport, Cloonlyon National School and approximately 15 households.  

    The Boil Water Notice has been put in place following the detection of cryptosporidium in the Knock Airport Public Water Supply.

    Irish Water drinking water compliance and operational experts are working with colleagues in Mayo County Council to resolve this situation as soon as possible. Irish Water and Mayo County Council will continue to liaise with the Health Service Executive with a view to lifting the Boil Water Notice as soon as practicable.

    In the meantime, all customers of this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice.

  • A do not drink notice has been issued for the Cloonmore/Cloonlavish Group Water Scheme.

    Mayo County Council issued the warning today for the scheme, located west of Knock, as it emerged that the group’s water scheme is contaminated by oil.

    Following advice from the Health Services Executive, Mayo County Council issued the do not drink notice, which means water cannot be used for drinking, preparing or cooking food, brushing teeth or making ice.

    The county council has warned people to discard ice cubes and water in fridges and freezers and that domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink.