A local Westport councillor said last week that local Minister of State Michael Ring ‘must have a direct line to Angela Merkel’ (the German chancellor) after Deputy Ring’s department granted nearly €750,000 to projects in the town.
Cllr Christy Hyland, Chairman of the council, made his comments after it was confirmed at the monthly meeting of the authority that works on the projects in question were to start in the near future.
The funding will provide €85,000 for an outdoor fitness area beside the Greenway in the town; €75,000 for improvement works and floodlighting for the town centre McConville Park soccer pitch; €300,000 for the a three metres wide pathway through Pinewoods and King’s Hill and €350,000 for a variety of improvement work at Westport Leisure Park.
Cllr Ollie Gannon said the news of the funding from the Department of Tourism and Sport was proof positive that Michael Ring had the best interests of his own town at heart.
“I am firmly of the belief that Michael Ring does not get the credit he deserves. We have seen over the last six months what a difference he can make to this town as a Minister and we have seen that he is a community man who is not afraid to step up to the plate.”
Cllr Margaret Adams said she was of the opinion that other Ministers from this county also didn’t get the credit they deserved.
All the other councillors said they were delighted to see funding was still available for good projects and Town Manager, Mr Joe Beirne, said that some of the funding would be available as soon as November.
Smarter travel funding
Meanwhile, Smarter Travel funding worth €90,000 is set to be allocated to projects in Louisburgh, Ballinrobe and Belmullet, according to Minister of State Ring.
The €30,000 allocated to Louisburgh is for the provision of cycle friendly roads with bike parking spaces. Both Ballinrobe and been allocated €30,000 for the provision of cycle lanes, footpaths and for wall building while €30,000 has been approved for cycle lanes with bike parking spaces in Belmullet.
“I am delighted to make this announcement. Through the Smarter Travel Scheme people can be encouraged to avail of facilities for a more active lifestyle in a safer environment. These provisions will also increase the tourism potential of these areas,” Minister Ring said last week.
Smarter Travel projects are designed to encourage and facilitate a switch towards more sustainable transport methods such as pedestrianisation and cycling.