By Paul O’Malley
Councillors in the Ballina Municipal District have said they are unhappy they were not informed of the development of a skating facility in the town prior to its recent announcement.
Cllr Mark Duffy confirmed that the Mayo Rollers would take charge of the facility to be located in the old Ballina Mineral Water building on Lower Pearse Street.
However, this has caused anger among Cllr Duffy’s colleagues who said at last Wednesday’s area meeting that they should have been informed about this project well in advance. There was added disappointment as the councillors had met with the chief executive of Mayo Co Council Kevin Kelly two weeks earlier and the skate park was not discussed.
“It is disingenuous and disappointing that this was not brought up at the meeting,” said Cllr Annie May Reape. “We have always worked together on these projects.
“I was particularly disappointed to see photos of two officials on hand at the announcement wearing hard hats,” she said, referring to the head of the Municipal District Declan Turnbull and director of the services for the district Tom Gilligan.
Cllr John O’Hara said he welcomed the development to the town as it would be a big asset but added that it should have been brought to the attention of all councillors first.
Cllr Seamus Weir said the use of the building warranted a full discussion among councillors, and that the area “would have been perfect” to help curb the ongoing shortage of car parking in the town.
Cllr Duffy said his role had been limited to helping the Mayo Rollers secure a site for a skatepark and holding discussions with the council regarding insurance.
Mr Gilligan offered an apology to councillors.
“I would like to apologise one hundred percent. It was never our intention to offend anyone.”