The new Cathaoirleach of Ballinasloe Municipal Council, Cllr Dr Evelyn Parsons Independent was elected at the June AGM recently. She joined Galway County Council in July 2020, described this as a huge privilege to be elected to the role and an honour to be the first female Cathaoirleach of the Ballinasloe Municipal District Council.
"I thank my colleagues for their faith in me and am excited to represent the people of Ballinasloe Municipal District and county. I plan to progress the implementation of the County Development Plan and Local Area plan to improve Ballinasloe/ East Galway”. Stated Cllr. Evelyn.
She continues to acknowledge the huge contribution of the voluntary and community sector during the ongoing COVID pandemic and Ukrainian crisis and now with more needs emerging through the cost-of-living pressures. Among important issues in the coming year for the Chair are Health, Housing, Climate Action, Tourism & Investment
Cllr Parsons is also a member of the Regional Health Forum West, a member of the Special Policy Committee Biodiversity and Climate Action, and a member of the Galway County Public Art Management Group.
'When she joined the Council - the County Development Plan, and the Ballinasloe Local Area Plan Process plans were being formulated. These blueprints are crucial for funding applications, planning developments, and strategic objectives for the future of County Galway and Ballinasloe Town until 2028. She was pleased to have inserted into the plan a first-time recognition of the importance of Portiuncula University Hospital within the County.
She played a significant role in policy objectives for the remediation plan for Poolboy Landfill and adjacent lands, and other biodiversity projects. She plans to honour commitments which have been given to Ballinasloe and mentioned in the GCDP 2022-2028.
Due to the work that Accessibility Ballinasloe have been doing she is adamant that Ballinasloe has a niche tourism market for the differently abled. “I believe that we need to exploit the Suck River as an asset to promote tourism and I have started by requesting Galway County Council to apply for funding to progress a feasibility study on the development of an Accessible Swim and Water Recreational Area along the river in the heart of the town “, states Cllr Dr. Evelyn.
The wider tourism potential is massive there is the Aughrim Visitor Centre Battlefields, O'Kelly Trails, ecclesiastical abbeys, villages boglands and rural walks of East Galway such as Hymany Way, wonderful heritage groups and Agri-tourism, the progression of the Ballinasloe Greenway spur, Larry Reynolds and Dinny Delaney Festivals, newer festivals like Livestock, and a celebration of the unique cultural event which is the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.
The council full term only lasts until May 2024 but Cllr Parsons states she finds it shocking that Galway County Council is the worst funded council in the country.
''We are being failed by government in Galway County. In my opinion the funding gap which exists is grossly unfair. No one has been able to explain it to me in any satisfactory manner. I have raised this repeatedly in the Council at with national representatives”, she notes.
While she was on the Special Policy Committee for Biodiversity and Climate Action, she organised a meeting with the Office of Public Works and Minister Patrick O’Donovan to raise concerns about flooding, the impact it would have on communities, the risks with waste industries on biodiversity areas such as River Suck Flood Plains.
She also mentioned the risk of climate change and how the minor work on the Ballinasloe Flood relief scheme is still not near completion.
“I'm concerned about contaminated grounds and the effects of flooding and climate change. It’s important that GCC improve the plan for the Poolboy Landfill and give full control to the High Court Order. I’ve contacted national representatives looking for their support on these issues.'' said Cllr Parsons.
Cllr Parsons plans on making public representation on services such as Housing, Health and Active Travel projects, Domestic Violence, litter and environment issues, paths, and accessibility.
''I'm delighted to have been involved with committed groups and independent colleagues in attracting the largest capital funding of Sports Capital Grants ever to the Ballinasloe Area. I look forward to seeing Ballinasloe and East Galway area blossom in the coming years,'' said Cathaoirleach Parsons
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