There are a ever widening range of groups and interests whom politicians might claim to represent but Castlebar’s Fine Gael town councillor Noreen Heston surely found a new group who might support her at the ballot box - the kebab lovers of Castlebar.
It’s not clear yet how widespread a demographic that group is but Cllr Heston told this week’s meeting of Castlebar Town Council that she had been approached by the ‘kebab lovers’ of Castlebar who feared that the Castle Kebab House on New Antrim Street might have to close earlier at night.
It arose from a motion from Cllr Michael Kilcoyne that suggested that a previous agreement between the council and takeaway operators in Castlebar over closing earlier in order to reduce anti-social behaviour was not working.
However, Cllr Kilcoyne’s motion met with widespread disapproval. Cllr Ger Deere said Cllr Kilcoyne was contradicting his last motion, which called on a national rethink on rates to help struggling businesses.
“On the one hand, he is trying to make life difficult for businesses adhering to the take-away agreement, and then he is trying to be a champion of other businesses. We all know business is extremely difficult now, and the last thing we should be doing is adding to the troubles for the take-away operators who have shown great leadership and maturity in helping to stamp out anti-social behaviour in the town,” said Cllr Deere, after the meeting.
Cllr Blackie Gavin said that he had been asked by a number of businesspeople what did Cllr Kilcoyne have against Castle Kebabs - he had raised a number of planning issues in the past. Cllr Gavin said that he was told by one businessman that Cllr Gavin wouldn’t raise the matter because he was afraid of Cllr Kilcoyne.
Cllr Frank Durcan said jobs were at risk and ‘there would be no Christmas’ for children whose parents might be let go because of takeaway closures if they were forced to close because of prohibitive opening hours.
Cllr Noreen Heston said that anti-social behaviour shouldn’t be an issue for the takeaway owners, but for the Gardaí.
“Anything we can do for that businessman on New Antrim Street and the kebab lovers of Castlebar town, we should do,” she added.
Cllr Kilcoyne said he wasn’t taking issue with this particular takeaway. The motion was defeated.