Mayo Co Council’s handling of the management of Ballina’s athletics track has been likened to a divorce and forced marriage.
The analogy was used by Ballina Athletics Club’s chairperson, Liz Murphy, as she responded to the local authority’s latest update to local elected councillors on the status of the track’s management.
At a Ballina Municipal District meeting on February 16 last the council’s director of services for the area, Mr Tom Gilligan said that the long-standing impasse over the operation of the athletics track may not be solved locally and will require an alternative approach due to a continued difference of opinion between the local authority and Ballina Athletics Club as to how the track should be operated.
Ballina Athletics Club was not in favour of the council’s preference that the track be co-managed by it and the Moy Valley Athletics Club, he said.
Ms Murphy said Ballina Athletics Club will now have to consult the ombudsman again, claiming that the council has not complied with the ombudsman’s direction that it engage in a review of its original memorandum of agreement with the club in relation to the operation of the track.
Instead, the council had issued a memorandum of agreement that was almost identical to the one that had triggered Ballina Athletics Club’s original complaint to the ombudsman in 2019, she maintained.
Ms Murphy explained that Ballina Athletics Club is only interested in discussing the original memorandum of agreement that it signed with the council in 2015:
“At this point we would be calling for a totally independent third party to come in and mediate. The council is not taking on board what we are saying. It is not even taking on board what the ombudsman has recommended,” she remarked, likening the scenario to Mayo Co Council trying to divorce Ballina Athletics Club and force it into a new marriage with the Moy Valley Athletics Club.