Council row over funding for Ballingarry and Askeaton

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Sinn FŽin councillor Ciara McMahon

A SINN Féin councillor, who has decided not to stand for re-election on May 24, believes that people are sick of politics.

Cllr Ciara McMahon made the remark after a heated row over funding for traffic calming measures in Ballingarry at the monthly meeting of Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District.

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Councillors were told at this Tuesday’s meeting that €84,000 was available to complete works on the Slí na Sláinte walkway in Askeaton (€30,000) and to commence traffic calming measures in Ballingarry (€54,000).

Fine Gael councillor Adam Teskey told the council executive that he was “vexed and angry” that the full amount of €84,000 was not going to Ballingarry. He described the speed of traffic driving through the village as “frightening”.

“We were confronted by the harsh reality of this after a fatality in the area some months ago. Something needs to be done to deal with the reality of the traffic situation,” he said.

Party colleague Cllr Stephen Keary said that while he supported both projects, he felt that funding for the Slí na Sláinte walk should be sought elsewhere.

Senior Executive Engineer Aidan Finn explained that the structure of the road in Ballingarry was very poor and that significant works were needed to improve it.

He suggested councillors use the funding available to them “wisely” and proposed using €30,000 to get work on the Askeaton walkway underway.

Mr Finn also proposed the remaining money be used to kick-start works in Ballingarry to “improve safety with immediate effect” and to tie in with works to be carried out when further funding becomes available.

The meeting came to an impasse when councillors Teskey and Keary refused to budge on funding being taken from Ballingarry.

Independent councillor Richard O’Donoghue claimed they were putting lives at risk by delaying the works.

“On your head be it,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Ciara McMahon was bemused by the scene unfolding in the council chamber.

“What are you arguing over? We were supposed to have €40,000 for works in Ballingarry but now have €54,000. We have been talking about the walkway in Askeaton for the last five years and now we have the €30,000 to do the work. I don’t see the issue. What is the problem?” she asked.

Cllr McMahon told council members that she could see why people are sick of politics. She said she would no longer “be playing politics”.