Thursday 22 March 2018

Oban? I'll drive you, councillor!

The driving route from Gorey to Oban, only 640km.
The driving route from Gorey to Oban, only 640km.

Fintan Lambe

GOREY councillor Robert Ireton offered to drive Cllr Lorcan Allen to Gorey's twin town of Oban in Scotland at their own expense, rather than allocate €5,000 of the Council's money to reviving the town's twinning programme.

He made the suggestion during a special meeting held last week to decide how to spend €40,000 of the town council's capital money, which much be used up before the Council is disbanded in May.

Reviewing the suggested programme of spending, Cllr Lorcan Allen started out by saying he felt that €5,000 should be allocated for 'one last trip to revitalise the twinning with Oban'. He felt the money could be spent in the lifetime of the council.

Chairman Michael D'Arcy Snr said he saw very little value in the town council going to Oban at present. Cllr Darren Keegan agreed, saying he felt €5,000 is too much for 'a trip or a junket'. 'Give it somewhere like St Patrick's Snooker Club that need a new roof. Spend it locally,' he said.

Cllr Bernard Crosbie said he recalled receiving a letter from the council in Oban saying they wouldn't be coming back to Gorey, and looked for Cllr Allen's proposal to be deferred until the twinning arrangement could be clarified.

Cllr Allen repeated that he felt there would be great merit in maintaining a relationship between the towns.

Cllr Malcolm Byrne didn't think a trip could be done by May, and said if they were going, they should pay for the trip themselves. He said it would make more sense for the new municipal council to look at the issue, and that they should formally write to Oban to see where things stand.

'I would rather see the money spent locally rather than spending it on Oban,' stated Cllr Ireton.

Cllr D'Arcy suggested they leave the issue, and see if money can be found elsewhere for a trip.

The proposals for spending the €40,000 included: €10,000 on new town entrance signs; €8,000 for design and tender costs for the walkway around Gorey Showgrounds and Gorey Town Park; €7,000 for painting the interior of the retail units at the Market House, and fitting them out with display units; €5,000 for Gorey School of Art towards a training centre at its new facility; and €10,000 towards the redevelopment of the Showgrounds.

Cllr Byrne objected to what he saw as a 'grab' on the part of County Hall, looking for additional money, at the expense of other projects. Cllr D'Arcy disagreed with the suggestion, and Town Clerk Amanda Byrne explained that an application is being made for a Sports Capital Grant for an all weather pitch, and there was concern the council hadn't allocated enough of its own money to the project.

Cllr Byrne objected to the €10,000 being allocated to the council's community services department, which is looking after the project. Cllr Colin Webb pointed out that it was mentioned in the past that money would be needed for the Showgrounds. 'The Showgrounds will have a long lasting legacy for the town,' he said. 'Saying that this is a "money grab" is not correct.'

'When we are spending €10,000 of public money, we are entitled to ask questions,' said Cllr Byrne.

Cllr Angie Dooley said she felt the €10,000 will be money well spent, as the town has waited long enough on the Showgrounds to be developed.

The Town Clerk said that if the grant application isn't successful, the money 'comes back to Gorey'.

The spending proposals were agreed.

Gorey Guardian