independent

Friday 18 April 2014

'Swords needs money'

COUNCILLORS based in Swords have argued strongly that it is time the county capital got some attention and cash from the council with one saying that the county manager should be ' ashamed' at the state of the town that hosts the council's headquarters.

Cllr Anne Devitt (FG) launched a tirade against council management, saying that the state of some of the county town's greatest attractions made her 'embarrassed' to be a councillor for the area. She asked the county manager, David O'Connor, if he had 'ever looked out the window' of council chambers to see the state of the northern end of the town, referring to derelict buildings around Swords Castle and the seemingly never-ending project to restore the castle to its former glory. Cllr Devitt said that end of the town of Swords was 'dead' and the asset the castle could be for the town was not being realised. She said that with the apparent 'demise' of Metro North the council could not afford to wait around for a decision on the rail project before developing Swords. 'If I am ashamed, you should be ashamed,' she told the county manager, and said it was time to look at the county capital and invest in it. Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said he 'agreed 100% with Cllr Devitt'. He said that the council should be proud of the great work in Malahide Castle but said that representatives in Swords would argue that it is now the county capital's ' turn'. He said the town had ' incredible resources' that were ' totally underdeveloped' and he wanted to see Swords 'get its return'. Cllr Butler said it was a source of frustration locally that a public realm plan had been recently announced for Malahide but there was no sign of a similar plan for Swords. The county manager took exception to some of the criticism and said the council had a long-term commitment to developing Swords. He announced that the council had recently applied for European funding to develop arts and cultural projects in the town that banks would not fund. 'We haven't taken our eyes off Swords, our eyes are firmly on Swords but we have to seek funding from elsewhere because we don't have the funding ourselves,' Cllr O'Connor said. He said there will be plans for Swords and they would be put before councillors early next year but he warned that certain projects, like Swords Castle ' may happen slower than we want'.

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