The town, the council and the people

De Facto
Football, Enda, a-boards and traffic in Westport!

De Facto
Liamy Mac Nally

What a life!  Mayo footballers are on a roll.  Enda has turned the crozier on its head, the Euro is in a state of FUBAR and the streets of Westport are paved with A-boards and tables!  Is Westport Town Council on a war footing over the proliferation of ‘unsuitable street furniture.’  Many locals are of the opinion that the Town Council would be best placed if it set up a two-man Snag Team with a bucket of cement and a trowel.  They could fill in the holes and cracks that criss-cross the town’s pavements.  Some business owners have argued that their tables stop pedestrians tripping on the pavements, and prevent costly court claims!  Is this patriotism, Covie style?
Meanwhile, the barber kept on shaving and Westport traffic grinds to a halt – again!  Another summer and another fine mess we are in.  With all the talk of workshops and traffic meetings we are still in the mire.  It is as if the people who can make decisions about traffic in Westport simply have no interest in doing so.  If they did we would not be experiencing the same traffic delays and tailbacks that have become an annoying feature of the town.  Can it be that those with the power-making decisions do not live in the town or do not travel during peak times?  Of late, any hour seems to be a peak time with lines of exhaust pipes spewing fumes from the town centre to the Castlebar Road and the Minister’s Hill! 
While work is blazing away on the supermarket site at the Textiles Factory (after they recovered from their oil find!) one wonders what is in store for drivers when the store opens.  There are no traffic plan answers being touted yet by those in the know. 
We know that one Councillor recently served his community with distinction.  It must go on record that Cllr Keith Martin, a librarian with Westport Town Library, stood out as a prime example of what a public servant should be.  During Covie Week he remained in the library to facilitate the art exhibition for over two hours after the library closed.  Two days later the library was closed at 5pm.  Keith Martin was on a day off yet he re-opened the library that evening to facilitate the soccer photography exhibition.  He stayed for almost three hours, free gratis, without a grumble or complaint.  He did it with his impish smile and was the perfect host.  Míle buíochas Keith Martin. 
Cathaoirleach Christy Hyland made himself available for events and performed the official opening of Covie Week.  There are some in the land of officialdom who feel that every time a Cathaoirleach attends a function he must speak.  They must learn that protocol does not demand the impossible.  Cllr Hyland is wise enough not to let himself or the office of Cathaoirleach become the meat in a protocol sandwich.  His term of office will definitely have traffic improvements on the agenda.  Let us hope that action is taken.  So many people are fed up advising decision-makers that simply turning off the traffic lights at the Castlecourt Hotel would alleviate many traffic problems in one swoop.  One local claims that this solution is too simple for desktop managers to implement because it does not require a consultant!
Then there is the talk about the Town Hall.  While the development and fundraising committees have done more than what has been asked of them the council falters with baby steps on bringing the project forward.  There has been local concern about the tendering process.  It is incumbent on council management to issue a simple statement on the tendering process and explain to people why local firms might not be in the race for the re-development tender.  Local people have contributed their hard-earned cash for the work.  The least they deserve is an explanation of procedures and protocols with the tendering process, perhaps through an advert in this newspaper.  
And, as always, council outdoor staff members are up at cockcrow, keeping the town looking resplendent and radiant.  Town entrance roads are bedecked, flower boxes don the bridges with window boxes on businesses. Council staff and volunteers are still tackling the daily litter chore.  That partnership is one of the most successful undertaken by Westport Town Council and must be commended. 
Is there anything we can do about Kerry footballers?  Let us not underestimate our Mayo team.  A Mayo Taoiseach, a Mayo Seanad Leader, a Mayo Presidential candidate… the list goes on.  Perhaps the ever-elusive silver Sam might be revving up for a trip across the Shannon, a welcome visit to long-lost friends, last seen sixty-years ago.  Many have gone west, waiting for the rising Son.  Those who remain still wait in joyful hope.