CHANGING OF THE GUARD?Cllr Christy Hyland (second left) is pictured with his five fellow Fine Gael councillors and Junior Minister Michael Ring prior to the last local elections in 2009, from left: Myles Staunton, Christy Hyland, Tereasa McGuire, Michael Ring, Ollie Gannon and Michael McLaughlin.
Independent road for Fine Gael councillor
OUTSPOKEN councillor Christy Hyland may be an Independent on the ballot paper for the upcoming local elections but he told The Mayo News yesterday that, while he was relieved to be now freed from the constraints of the party whip, he was essentially ‘Independent Fine Gael’, since law and order was a priority.
Despite the fact that he failed to get a party nomination for the West Mayo Area, the former detective garda said he still supported Fine Gael and has a lot of good friends in the party, both locally and nationally.
Since his election to Westport Town Council back in 2009, the Tuam native has championed the installation of a CCTV system in the tourism haven, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
“I started out four years ago on the CCTV project for Westport, my reason for this was to ensure Westport was a safe place to live and visit for all our citizens. I found at times that the bureaucratic system inhibited my progress, but I stuck to my pledge and have delivered on this project, with phase one being rolled out in the coming months,” Cllr Hyland said yesterday.
He confirmed to The Mayo News yesterday that ‘the first phase of the CCTV system would be rolled out in the next few months in two locations , with up to seven cameras’.
MacBride Community Nursing Unit
ANOTHER priority of Mr Hyland’s has been the staffing level and services at Westport’s MacBride Nursing Home Unit. He is strongly critical of the ongoing suspension of day-care services at the facility and has called on ‘the HSE to stop dragging their feet’ on the matter, as Government sources had confirmed to him that ‘the funding has been provided to address the issue’.
He strongly criticised a communication from the HSE to Town Clerk, Ms Ann Moore, in which it is confirmed that subject to the recruitment of certain staff, including staff nurses and health care assistants, day care services may then be restored at the unit by April.
“This is not good enough, as this is a very essential service for the people of the area; it gives the carers respite and these carers are saving the taxpayers and the HSE a lot of money with the care they give to their loved ones. This service at the day care is a very essential service to the senior citizens and one has to ask the question: ‘What type of a society have we if we cannot provide this essential service for senior citizens?’,” he observed.
JOBS created towards the ever-expanding tourism sector is another priority for Christy Hyland.
“The tourism model that has been developed in Westport is a great example of what can be done, and I will ensure this model is replicated across the West Mayo region. The development of the Wild Atlantic Way has huge potential for job creation, but we must put in the appropriate infrastructure to cater, for example, for the coach tourism sector. The Greenway and its ongoing development will present a great opportunity for the development of adventure and leisure tourism. I would like to see this project fulfilled, by extending this infrastructure to the world class beaches of Louisburgh, the islands of west Mayo, and right up the spectacular coastline of north Mayo. The tourism potential here must be tapped into and will lead to the creation of sustainable employment in the west Mayo region,” he said.
Innovative start-up small and medium-sized businesses in the agri-food sector must also be supported and fostered for the export market, he said.
He continued: “There is a huge Euro market for artisan food produce and their export potential. Westport Town Council in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce are about to launch the new Enterprise Centre which will give the budding young entrepreneurs the opportunity for innovation and the development of new business ideas.”
Cllr Hyland also observed that new supports must be established in light of the loss of the Amenity Grant Schemes which supports key voluntary organisations.
There are presently 12 candidates declared for the West mayo region, five of whom are Fine Gael.