Discussing Matt Cooper and McHale Road

Off the fence
Matt Cooper and McHale Road

Off the fence
John Fair

I read, with a certain amount of amusement, the comments by TV3’s Matt Cooper, in the July 20 edition of The Mayo News where he called on the residents of McHale Road to ‘compromise their position’ in relation to the re-development of McHale Park.
To the best of my knowledge Matt Cooper is not from the area so why should he get involved? As we live in a democracy, Matt Cooper has every right to make comments but in a democracy we have laws which everyone must obey, without exceptions.
If he had known the history and politics of the situation I seriously doubt he would be naive enough to get involved.
In the article he acknowledged the residents’ concerns but argued for the ‘greater good’ of the McHale Park Development to the town and its economy.
From the start of the McHale Park redevelopment, residents have had to suffer the continuous noise of the rockbreaker from very early morning to late at night despite the conditions imposed by the planning authorities.
There was also the constant heavy traffic of lorries not to mention the muck and dust raised. Would Matt Cooper buy a house opposite what I believe is a grotesque looking media tower? I don’t think he would like to open his front door and see that structure every day, no way.
As a community. McHale Road has evolved over 75 years and developed into a tight knit group where everybody respects the privacy of their neighbours. Sadly the GAA executive, most of whom don’t live in the area, seem to dismiss the existence of our community of 116 houses. They seem to consider us to be an inconvenience, a nuisance even.
We are entitled to a quality of life and no organisation has the right to destroy the ambience of our lovely road. Matt Cooper went on and said ‘if somebody has to be slapped over the wrist for getting the measurements wrong, fair enough, but it would be an awful shame to tear the thing down’.
I am sure that the people around the country who had to tear their houses down for a minor infraction of the planning laws would have felt the same.
I must point out that as a community we give 100 per cent support to the Castlebar Mitchels and the Mayo team which is evident by us putting out bunting for matches. Our argument is with the Mayo GAA Executive. If they had consulted with the residents, who are very sociable and amenable and most importantly democratic, we would not be in the position we are today.
I would like to wish the Mayo Minors, and the Mayo ladies all the very best for the rest of this season.

John Fair is a resident of McHale Road, Castlebar.