Council Affairs: Let’s be Navan you

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

ISN’T it gas that if there’s a planning issue in Raheen or Kilmallock or Newcastle West that is of concern to local residents, someone living in the other end of the country can still lodge a submission on it?

It doesn’t matter one iota if you are from Nobber or Fannystown, you can still have your say on what’s happening here in Limerick.

Isn’t democracy great all the same!

Still, council members were far from impressed when they recently learned that someone from Newtwopothouse or Termonfeckin could make a submission on cycle lanes in the Treaty City even though it was unlikely they’d ever get a ride on it — especially if you happened to be from Navan!

Councillors in the Metropolitan District learned this during a monthly meeting, where it turned out that a submission had come in from County Meath on a planned scheme in the city.

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Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely was totally bemused and called on the council to take a long hard look at how submissions are dealt with going forward.

Now, I don’t know if she was just peeved off because the submission came from Navan or what, but the Council’s top brass were in for it.

“How is that fair that someone from Navan can put in an objection or submission or have a bearing on how an active travel proposal is implemented and executed here?” Cllr Kiely asked.

“If I am living in Belfield Gardens, Childers Road, or South Circular Road, the impact on me is greater than the impact on someone from Navan. I’ve seen a submission in from Navan,” she claimed.

Speaking during a debate on the introduction of cycle lanes between TUS and the city centre, Councillor Kiely questioned the fairness in cycle lobbyists from outside Limerick attempting to influence active travel measures.

The City East representative said she had seen a text message from cycle lobbyists rooting for cycle lanes on one planned scheme for Limerick.

The message, she explained, was steering cycling partisans to get on their bikes and put in submissions from as far and wide as Skeheenarinky and Muckanaghederdauhaulia in support for Limerick cycle lanes.

I mean, would they not take their highly elasticated spandex bottoms and peddle their wares somewhere else!

Cycle lanes are all well and good, but would you not maybe sell them somewhere else. Navan perhaps?

Anyway, cycle lanes weren’t the issue. The issue was that any auld outsider, even those from the Midlands God forbid, could make submissions on schemes in Limerick. Where would this madness end?

Executive planner Barry Henn took Cllr Kiely’s point.

“But what we have to do is summarise all submissions,” he contested.

“If they raise a planning matter, we need to respond to that. There wouldn’t be different weight if it were someone from Navan or from the local area. The legislation sets out as long as it’s a planning matter, we have to respond,” he explained.

Listen, the season of goodwill might be just behind us now but it would be no harm to remember that we’re all God’s children… even those from Navan.

On your bike with ye!