The controversy over the changes to the parking charges system in Westport is likely to come to head at a special meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District of Mayo County Council on Monday next.
The closing date for submissions on the new bye-laws was May 25, with the four different sets of bye-laws having been on public display since April 9.
A memo from Mr Padraic Walsh, Head of the West Mayo Municipal District, dated June 1, to Director of Services, Ms Catherine McConnell, has revealed that a total of 76 submissions were received by the council from the public, and these submissions have been circulated to the seven West Mayo Municipal District councillors for their consideration.
Next Monday’s meeting is taking place in Claremorris, due to the fact that the full monthly June meeting is taking place at the Claremorris Municipal District Offices later on Monday afternoon.
The council over the last number of years have held the last meeting of the tenure of the sitting Cathaoirleach in his or her’s hometown, so next Monday’s meetings are being held in Claremorris to honour Cllr Richard Finn.
The memo on the parking charges details the different categories of issues raised, with a total of 50 submissions making particular reference to the fact that on-street parking charges would have a negative effect on business in the town.
The current proposals put before the public are unlikely to be rubber-stamped at next Monday’s meeting as four of the seven sitting councillors have indicated their opposition to the proposed bye-laws. Cllr Brendan Mulroy (FF) has been a long time opponent of on-street car parking charges, while Cllr Christy Hyland (IND) has indicated publicly that he cannot support the proposals in their current format.
Cllr Tereasa McGuire (FG) has put forward an alternative proposal to raising the funds required by the Mayo County Council executive, while Cllr Teresa Whelan (SF) stated at a public meeting in Belmullet last month that she would not be supporting the proposals.
The other three councillors in the West Mayo Municipal District are Cllr Gerry Coyle (FG), Cllr Paul McNamara (FF) and Cllr Michael Holmes (Ind), who is currently the Cathaoirleach of the district.
If the parking bye-laws are, as expected, defeated on Monday next, the Mayo County Council annual budget, passed earlier this year, will still have a shortfall of some €355,000, and elected representatives may have to come up with alternative proposal as to how the shortfall can be met.