One year on from being elected to Galway County Council and these are very strange times indeed.  On 27th March, Ireland went into lockdown due to the arrival of the Coronavirus.  People went into self-isolation and the over 70’s cocooned.  Almost immediately, your local County Councilors joined with the local sporting and voluntary groups in Athenry to answer the Community Call.  The role of the County Councilor is to represent for you at local and national government level’s and to support you, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

Support for Business

You have supported the local shops and restaurants that were open for us during lockdown and I am so grateful for that.  From Monday 8th June, more retailers will have opened as will our local playground.  Our shopping experiences will be different going forward and it is more important than ever that we support our local small businesses. 

Efforts will be made by Galway County Council to help our local shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants and retailers in the coming weeks and months.  I was heartened to see that, during the lockdown, Galway County Council sought to progress the Enhancement of the Market Square Project and it has gone out to tender.  It is a regeneration project that seeks to respectfully modernise The Market Square, Burke’s Lane, Davis Street and Cross Street.  The plan seeks to promote and support local businesses and invite new business to Athenry.  It gives consideration to the public’s input from the Reimagine Athenry project and to the recommendations made by the Athenry Small Traders Group which is very welcome news.

Consideration to social distancing will also be given in all future plans and I have asked that footpaths be widened to facilitate on-street trading for our pubs, cafes, and restaurants.  I have also asked that off-street parking within the centre of the town be explored.  At present, all car parks are too far away from the centre of town.  More central off-street parking would encourage and promote business in the town centre.  I have also asked that we develop a walking plan with directional signage.  The plan would involve walking up the street on one side and down on the other for example.  This is happening in other towns around the country.  I await feedback from the Council on this.

I hope all business that applied for the Restart Grants were successful and are getting all the supports they need through the County Council.

Roads/Paths/Lights

Other projects and issues that I am addressing at the moment are lighting, paths, and roads in our area.  Two new lights were installed on the Tuam Road and are waiting for the ESB to turn them on.  Our local engineer tells me the plan for the set back a of private wall to facilitate a path on the Tuam Road will be carried out this year also.  The following works are either in the process of being completed or will be completed this year.  More information on the roads programme is available from the Area Office 091 509088.

L3118 Attymon-Clooncah Road Improve visibility around bends.

L3107 Caheroyan-Construction of new footpath

L3112 Carnakelly-Removal of hedge and wall and replace with fence

L62081Carrowbrowne Road-Removal of 2 bad bends

L3103 Castlelambert Road-Straighten a bend

L3105 Coolarne-Improve sight lines

The lights and path works at Ballydavid Cottages opposite Arrabawn that I spoke about in November have been completed and I am very grateful to the County Council, Electric Skyline and the ESB for their efforts here.

Travel & Transport

The Government has directives to encourage more Electric Vehicles on to our roads, but we currently have a very limited supply of fast charging points in the country.  Last year I asked Galway County Council if we could put eCar Chargers in the (free) Backlawn Car Park, but I did not get a positive response.  I have made another request and I will post an update as soon as I receive an answer.

I am a cycling fan and many of us have begun to cycle more in the fine weather.  The Wheels of Athenry have a leaflet with suggestions for routes of various durations but a lot of people worry about the speed of cars along our roads.  I would ask motorists to just be mindful during this time that there are more cyclists on the road and most of them are children.

Housing

I have made some submissions to the committee on social housing in the council.  I have asked them to consider housing progression for tenants when their family situations change.  I have also asked for more information on their Housing Maintenance strategy as I have had many representations from tenants with maintenance concerns.

Other issues:

I continue to advocate for better Garda numbers in our area and CCTV.  Galway County Council have written to the Government and the Garda Commissioner on my behalf and I await a favourable response from the various departments.  I believe CCTV should be rolled out by Central Government and monitored by An Garda Siochana.

I make regular enquiries on the progress of the footbridge for the Clarin College and some exploratory work at the bridge site was carried out recently.  Plans are progressing and an alternative access is being considered for the children if the bridge is not ready for when the school reopens.

The playground has a new wheelchair friendly roundabout thanks to the fundraising efforts of the community and donations from local businesses.  The playground will need continuous maintenance and care, and all donations are very welcome indeed.  I am very excited to reopen the playground this month once repairs have been completed.

The bottle banks are being emptied more frequently and I am told there will be prosecutions for illegal dumping.  I want to thank the ground staff of Galway County Council for their work in keeping our area looking really well during lockdown.

I was happy to send Expressions of Interest to Galway Rural Development to seek funding for a Needs Analysis Study for Attymon/Kiltulla on foot of the set-up of Attymon Development Group and ‘The Bog Walk Project’.  I look forward to progressing the project with the committee.

I want to thank the staff of Galway County Council who have worked with me over the past 12 months and I look forward to the next few years as we continue working to build on the achievements to date.

If these or any issues are of interest to you, get in touch at shellyhq@cllr.galwaycoco.ie or 0872871355.

‘Community Development in a Developing Community’