The abolition of the old Town Council in Tuam has been detrimental for the area – as it now eliminates any contact the local public have with their elected representatives.
The stinging attack has come from the last ever Mayor of Tuam Imelda Kelly who said that the new Municipal Council had “no teeth” and did not interact with members of the public in Tuam.
It was the source of much controversy when the Town Councils were abolished. It was felt that, while they had little power, they provided a direct access to the local community.
The Town Council in Tuam had a discretionary fund which they allocated to voluntary groups in the town on an annual basis. The current Municipal Council has no such fund available to it.]
In the past the old Town Council would receive deputations from voluntary groups in Tuam who had cases to mask on various issues. These were regularly highlighted by the local media.
Deputations currently received by the new Municipal Councils are met ‘in camera’ and out of the gaze of the local media.
Former Mayor Imelda Kelly said that the establishment of the Municipal Councils was a retrograde step as it removed elected representatives from the public. “They have now no access to these highly paid public representatives”, she said.
Imelda Kelly had the distinction of being the last ever Mayor of Tuam while her father, the late Miko Kelly, happened to be the first ever Mayor of the town.
“We had nine members of Tuam Town Council and each and every one of them were accessible to the people of Tuam. But in the new set up there is actually only two members of the nine-strong new Municipal Council actually living in the town which has a population of more than 7,000 people.
“The biggest town in the county is now being represented by elected representatives from the likes of Glenamaddy, Glinsk, Abbey- knockmoy, Headford and Belclare. This is simply not right and I think there is a case for the re-establishment of the4 town councils if only as a lobby group for the main Municipal Council. At least we would again become the eyes and ears of the town of Tuam,” she added.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.