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‘Ignorant’ Hogan and Fine Gael will regret closing town councils – Kilcoyne

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‘Ignorant’ Hogan and Fine Gael will regret closing town councils – Kilcoyne


Edwin McGreal

The poll-topper in the last ever Castlebar Town Council election in 2009, Cllr Michael Kilcoyne, said Fine Gael and Minister for the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan will regret their decision to abolish town councils.
Cllr Kilcoyne (Independent), who received just shy of two quotas in 2009, was speaking at the last ever meeting of Castlebar Town Council on Thursday last in the council chamber at Marsh House, Castlebar.
“The closure is extremely regrettable. Castlebar Town Council was far more efficient than Mayo County Council. If something urgent happened and you contacted the town council, it would be addressed within 24 hours. You could be waiting a week with Mayo County Council,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
“Phil Hogan can just be an ignorant man in terms of taking other people’s views on board. I think Fine Gael will live to regret their decision,” he added.
Cllr Harry Barrett agreed and argued ‘leaner does not always have to mean better’ while Cllr Blackie Gavin (Fianna Fáil) said it was ‘a sad night for the people of Castlebar’.
“The number of seats on Galway City Council have increased. I remember in this council when we were pressing for city status. Castlebar is a great town, one of the finest towns in the country and my biggest regret when I walk down those stairs for the last time tonight is that we did not go for a 50 metre pool last year when we had the chance,” said Cllr Gavin.
Cllr Brendan Henaghan said Castlebar ‘would not be the town it is were it not for the town council’ and said one interaction in recent weeks showed how compassionate the authority could be.
“I came across a scene which needed emergency attention and I rang the town council and two or three days later it was sorted. I rang (Town Clerk) Nora Coyne to thank her and she said to me ‘we will do what good we can for people as long as we’re in it’. I was emotional after that. We won’t get the same level of service now, it is a sad day for democracy,” said Cllr Henaghan.
Cllr Ger Deere paraphrased Charlie Haughey and said ‘as I prepare to leave stage left, I hope I’ve done Castlebar some service, and seven other councillors likewise’, a barbed reference to his adversary Cllr Frank Durcan, who was absent on the night.
Cllr Eugene McCormack, who has stated his opposition to the closure of the town councils, noted that ‘not a single public protest for town councils took place yet there were huge crowds at Leader cuts protest meetings in this county, maybe we should consider that’.
Mayor of Castlebar Cllr Noreen Heston said she regarded being the last mayor of the town as ‘a huge, huge honour’ and in her closing remarks said An Taoiseach Enda Kenny had been ‘constantly got at’ in the council chamber and that she ‘didn’t agree with the way he was attacked’.