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Call for ‘shared partnership’ in running of Killaloe-Ballina

‘A SHARED partnership’ between the two local authorities responsible for services in the lakeside towns of Killaloe and Ballina is being sought.

Councillor Tony O’Brien made the call at the July meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District and asked that discussions be instigated with Tipperary County Council. With the Draft Killaloe-Ballina Town Enhancement and Mobility Plan currently open for public consultation, the Fianna Fáil member said he was “throwing the ball in ” on the idea of greater collaboration between the two county councils.

“These are twin towns who need basic services on a daily basis,” he said. “With the advancement of a new town plan for the area, maybe it would be productive for both local authorities to engage and maybe share services like road sweeper for the two towns, and to cooperate on staffing levels. Instead of Clare County Council services stopping halfway across the bridge, maybe there could be a shared responsibility. I’m throwing the ball in to say, ‘Let’s work together’ to see if we can benefit both communities. If we had even a shared depot or workforces, this might really benefit area. Fantastic work being done at the moment, as it is.”

The motion was seconded by Councillor Pat Hayes. “This is a great motion, cooperation between communities is really important,” he said. “The draft mobility plan for Killaloe-Ballina presents a great opportunity. We always had a working group with the Nenagh district and there’s merit in that. This is a really important motion going forward, because Killaloe-Ballina is the gateway to the East Clare region.”

In a written reply, Senior Executive Officer (SEO), Morgan Lahiffe said the council acknowledges the fact that Killaloe and Ballina “form two towns but one community”. “Many services are currently provided to the communities from one side of the Shannon or the other,” the reply stated. “An example of this being the provision of library services which is located in Killaloe whilst the provision of swimming pool facilities is located in Ballina. Through a collaboration with Tipperary County Council, the Killaloe-Ballina Town Enhancement and Mobility Plan has been drafted and is on public display since July 9, 2021. The Draft Plan outlines a coordinated approach from both local authorities to public realm enhancements within Killaloe and Ballina, providing a clear vision for Killaloe and Ballina as linked settlements in the context of the changing transport and mobility profile of the towns. The outcomes of this plan will set specific objectives for both councils to deliver on. This will require both councils working collectively towards the provision of more services for both towns.

“The motion has merit in the form of exploring any efficiencies that can take place in relation to items such as localised litter management, the possible provision of equipment to serve both communities. Clare County Council will examine this through our engagements with Tipperary County Council.”

Commenting on the draft mobility plan, which is open for public submissions until Friday, August 20, Councillor O’Brien paid tribute to the Killaloe district team. “It’s a fantastic plan and a fantastic initiative,” he said. “Thanks for time, effort and work. This will put it in a very strategic place and shows great foresight from the team. We can be critical when it suits us, but have to recognise the positive work. I would encourage everybody to read the plan and give their ideas and feedback to the team.”

The plan can be viewed online at Clarecoco.ie. Hard copies can be accessed at the offices of Clare and Tipperary County Councils and at the civic offices in Scariff and Nenagh, as well as at Killaloe Public Library. Please note that, due to the pandemic, appointments may need to be made in advance.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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