By Donogh Moore
The Ballinasloe District Municipal Council held their first two meetings of their five year tenure recently. To begin, the new Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach for the coming year were elected, in the form of poll-topper Councillor Tim Broderick, and first-time Councillor Aishling Dolan.
The scale of the housing crisis within the area was fully exposed with the tabling of a report showing 485 families on the housing waiting list with a further 285 in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The housing agency O’Colohan & Co, who are keen to partner with Galway County Council on a pilot scheme for a housing alliance in the area, (which hasn’t been done outside of major urban zones before), presented to the councillors. The agency completed a similar scheme in Ardmore, Co. Waterford recently.
It was unanimously agreed that this scheme may provide an opportunity for the town to start building, with a mockup of three different types of accommodation being shown. Affordable housing would make up around 60% of the proposed building, with both affordable rental accommodation and social housing taking up around 20% each. Given the new larger size of the district in terms of scale and sprawl over which the council presides, it was resolved that one council meeting would be held outside of the town every six months. There was broad agreement shown at this proposal, with councillors agreeing that more effort needed to be shown to the communities in the far reaches of the district. However, the decision is now referred by bye law to a corporate policy group, who will then decide whether these two moves a year, would be feasible.
As is always the case post elections councillors nominated by their colleague to various different committees and bodies with responsibilities:
Finally, the Municipal District Council put its weight of support behind the town's application to Minister Ring’s Department for ‘Rural Regeneration’ scheme, despite having been denied support three times already. The scheme application this year is a joint application by the local authority, in conjunction with the Ballinasloe Area Community Development team.
Cathaoirleach Tim Broderick said that the grant aid for much needed investment in enterprise and rural economy was a “huge opportunity”, and that it was “imperative that we get our slice of this”.
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