The Mayor of Sligo, Clr. Jonathan McGoldrick, has claimed that residents have been ‘treated disgracefully' in the process to select a route for the controversial western by-pass.The Mayor, who lives in an area close to the preferred route, told Monday's meeting of Sligo Borough Council that there was widespread anger in the area over the fact that a route which had been rejected by the County Council some years ago was now back on the agenda.
Recalling that a unanimous decision had been taken by Sligo County Council to reject the proposal some years ago, Clr. Arthur Gibbons said it was a scandalous waste of money to come back with a similar proposal at this stage.
The project was a ‘white elephant' which would destroy established residential areas if it was allowed to go ahead.
Clr. Rosaleen O'Grady said that although the Borough Council wouldn't have a vote on the route, it was only right that they should lend their support to local residents.
Projects of this kind should be brought forward in partnership but this hadn't happened on this occasion as there had been very little public consultation.
Noting that over 600 submissions had been lodged against the plan, Clr. Veronica Cawley said that was an indication of the huge volume of opposition to the route.
Clr. Declan Bree said that the issue was very much the business of the Borough Council as the vast majority of people who would be affected by the project lived within the borough.
The preferred route was totally unacceptable and he was confident that it would be rejected out of hand by the County Council.
Welcoming the fact that there would be further public consultation on the western by-pass, Clr. Chris MacManus said he hoped the County Manager would adopt a similar attitude towards the eastern bridge and would afford more consultation to the residents of Doorly Park, Martin Savage Terrace and the East Ward generally.
Clr. Jimmy McGarry recalled that the route had been withdrawn from the Development Plan following a County Council vote in 2003 and he couldn't understand how it was back on the agenda at this stage.
He said he had been a member of a delegation which met the National Roads Authority in the recent past and it had been made absolutely clear by the NRA that the western by-pass would not be considered for at least another twenty years. Why then were the officials trying to ‘push through' a route in the development plan at this stage, he asked.
Mayor, Clr. McGoldrick, who lives in the area which will be most affected by the preferred route, declared that residents had been treated in a ‘disgraceful manner' on the issue.
Referring to an earlier decision by the County Council to delete the route from the Development Plan, the Mayor said there didn't seem to be much point in elected members taking a democratic decision if the officials would seek to overturn that decision at a later date.
The planning authorities are proposing a variation of the Sligo and Environs Development Plan to protect a corridor for the western by-pass in order to ensure that no short term planning and development decisions will hinder or restrict its implementation in subsequent development period.
The County Manager has recommended that the present proposal to vary the Development Plan not be proceeded with, pending further public consultation.