UPGRADING Killaloe Playground with new equipment and flooring has been identified as a priority project by a new community group.
Eight new councillors have been nominated without the necessity of a vote to the newly-established Killaloe Community Council.
Council vice-chairman, Eddie O’Gorman said one of the plans of the new organisation is to refurbish Killaloe Playground before handing it over to a new management committee who would look after its maintenance requirements.
The new group will be inviting members of the Scariff and Mountshannon Community Council to share their ideas and experience at a future meeting.
It will apply for funding to state agencies on behalf of local groups who wish to participate in community projects that will enhance the locality.
There are also plans to meet representatives of Clare County Council to examine abandoned local authority buildings and public space in the town.
“Clare County Council are fully supportive of this new council. They are willing to provide any grants that are available.
“We have a great mix of people with great knowledge. Deborah Dudgeon will be a fantastic chairperson. I am really looking forward to working with everyone.
“I hope a new community council will be elected in Ballina and the two groups will gel and work together,” he said.
“It would be great if a community council was set up in Ballina we could both look for funding at the same time if we were trying to improve Killaloe Bridge. Whatever benefits Ballina benefits Killaloe.
“We hope to be consulted and included in the new Killaloe Ballina Mobility Plan. We are going to do things right. We are not going to rush in and promise everyone everything,” he said.
The Steering Group, which was set up to facilitate the establishment of the new council, had planned to hold an election.
However, when eight people were nominated just one less than the planned number, an election was no longer deemed necessary and they were all elected without a vote.
Mr O’Gorman said the steering group was hoping to secure 20 to 25 nominations to be considered for election.
He said it was a pity that there wasn’t a vote needed for the new council as he would have preferred an election.
Describing the seven other members as “fantastic people”, he confirmed the committee held its first meeting recently after council chairman, Councillor Tony O’Brien officially launched the changeover from the steering group to the new body.
The new chairperson of the council is Deborah Dudgeon, who runs a bed and breakfast in Killaloe and is secretary of the Killaloe Ballina Historical Society.
Louise O’Shea Norman is the secretary, Karen Speed Andrews is the public relations officer and the treasurer is Mary Reddan.
Deirdre Mowatt, Susanne McAllister, Karen Speed-Andrews, and Heather Robb are the other committee members.
Steering Group chairman, Graham Lightfoot will act as an advisor to the committee.
Apart from the establishment of Killaloe Parish Council, which was primarily focused on helping the priests in St Flannan’s Catholic Church, it is understood this is the first community council of its kind solely for the East Clare gateway town. The origins of the latest community body came from a community council workshop about three years ago.
When Mr Lightfoot was approached by rural development officer, Seamus Murrihy last year, it was decided to concentrate solely on setting up a new community council for Killaloe, which would only have to deal with one local authority – Clare County Council.
Killaloe Community Council has now been incorporated and registered with the Companies Registration Office as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) under the auspices of Muintir na Tíre, which supports the establishment and development of community councils throughout Ireland.
It will promote through collaborative and inclusive processes the education, cultural and economic welfare of the whole community of Killaloe.
It represents the community as a whole in dealings with local government, statutory bodies and other agencies, in seeking, when considered necessary, technical, financial or other assistance in the promotion of the common good.
It provides advice and assistance, where possible, to the local authority and other statutory bodies in the exercise of their functions in the locality including but not restricted to the representation of the range of views of the community in respect of strategies, policies, projects or other proposals of such bodies likely to impact on the community as a whole.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Gorman said the Killaloe Enhancement Group may change its name and become Killaloe Tidy Towns’ Group in view of the lack of a tidy towns’ group in the town.
This is in sharp contrast to the very active Ballina Tidy Towns’ Group who have members that pick rubbish and engage in different projects on a very regular basis.
“Ballina looks brilliant and the tidy towns group do a great job. I was asked by a person why the Killaloe Enhancement Group wasn’t doing any projects in Ballina. I replied when Killaloe looks as good as Ballina we will go over to Ballina then.
“Maurice Quigley, who lives near St Flannan’s Church, has done great work maintaining areas that were previously cleaned up by the Killaloe Enhancement Group. If we had a few more people doing that once a fortnight, it would be great,” he said.
The Killaloe Enhancement Group, which is now in its third year, has cleaned up Tobermurragh, Aillebaun, the Scariff Road out to Brian Ború Fort and the green area in front of St Anne’ Community College.
The group has benefited from the influx of new help from Ukrainian refugees who have participated in three clean ups and also did a lot of valuable work in the Killaloe Community Garden.
There will be two more projects completed in the town – one in August and one in September.