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Ballina councillor wants funding fair play


EXTRAVAGANZA Westport's 250 celebrations in 2017 saw a spectacular air show take place at the Quay, and Cllr Michael Loftus wants similar events funded by Mayo County Council for Ballina's 2023 event next year. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Anton McNulty

A NORTH Mayo councillor has called on Mayo County Council to provide the same level of financial support to the Ballina 2023 celebrations as it did for Westport’s 250 celebrations in 2017.
In 2023, Ballina will mark 300 years since its formal establishment and as part of the tercentenary celebrations a year-long programme of events is currently being planned to ‘honour the past, celebrate the present and inspire hope for the future’.
A Ballina 2023 committee chaired by Cllr Jarlath Munnelly has been charged with organising a series of events to mark the tercentenary.
The matter was raised at last week’s monthly meeting of the Ballina Municipal District where Cllr Michael Loftus called for significant funding to be provided to ensure a series of projects and events are able to take place.
Referencing Westport’s 250 anniversary celebrations in 2017, Cllr Loftus said that the west Mayo town were able to put on an airshow and he wanted something similar in Ballina.
“When I see what Westport got for their 250, they got an airshow and a lot of money from the council. I hope that whatever is agreed at the council we get that sort of money for different projects for 2023. It is only right that we also get that. It is only fair that it is shared,” he said.
He was supported by fellow Fianna Fáil councillor Annie Mae Reape who said that they hoped that US President Joe Biden will be in a position to visit Ballina in 2023 if he visits Ireland during his term in office.
Head of the Municipal District, Declan Turnbull, told Cllr Loftus that the local council would welcome all the funding they could get and hoped he will be able to secure it in next year’s budget.
“When you as councillors are approving the county council budget in November I’m sure you will put a lot of money in for Ballina 2023 ... but I will leave that to yourselves to sort out,” he said.