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Ballina councillors defend March 18 parade

Ballina councillors defend their March 18 parade

Trevor Quinn

Some Ballina residents were unhappy that the town’s St Patrick’s Day parade was staged on  March 18, it emerged during last week’s monthly meeting of Ballina Town Council. However, the scheduling was defended by the councillors, including Cllrs Johnny O’Malley, Willie Nolan and Josie Egan.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Johnny O’Malley, said the town’s St Patrick’s day committee, of which he is chairperson, had felt that forcing businesses to close on Saturday, Sunday and Monday would negatively impact on retailers. “You will never please everyone with a decision like this, but following discussions with the chamber of commerce and given the economic climate being what it is, we decided to move it to the Sunday to give the traders in the town the Saturday free to themselves.”
Cllr Willie Nolan said that he thought it was a fantastic parade and he congratulated everyone involved. he said, “I’d like to commend the committee also for the fact it honoured Hollister in this year’s parade. They are one of the biggest employers in the town and it was great that their contribution to the town was recognised by the organisers.”
Independent Cllr Josie Egan said that the availability of bands was another reason why it made sense to have the parade on the Sunday. She stated that the Achill Pipe Band have been attending the Castlebar parade for more than 20 years and they have only been attending the Ballina parade for ten years. She added that they were unavailable on the Saturday but were available on the Sunday. She said that many other bands were similarly compromised.
Cllr Egan concluded, “It’s just a shame that many of the people who made complaints didn’t come out and do a little bit themselves. We had a great parade but there’s no doubt it could have been even better if more people had been involved.”

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