THE cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District has outlined that the surface of sections of the Mall in Castlebar will be fully restored in the coming weeks following the dismantling of the successful Mayo on Ice amenity without any cost to the local authority or ratepayers.
Councillor Martin McLoughlin said an agreement is in place with the operators of the ice rink, Cool Running Events, to ensure that any damage caused to the grass area is fully repaired.
Speaking at a council meeting this evening, he responded to concerns raised by Councillor Michael Kilcoyne about the matter earlier in the day.
Councillor Kilcoyne argued the Mall was not a suitable site for the ice rink and that the Military Barracks, which had a hard surface, was a better option for an event of this nature that ran for six weeks.
He also claimed that the number of people who sustained injuries on the ice added to the severe congestion at Mayo University Hospital throughout the festive season.
Councillor McLoughlin said the rink succeeded in its objective of bringing over 30,000 people into the town for the Christmas shopping period. It also succeeded in progressing a plan to establish Castlebar as the Winter Festival capital of the west of Ireland.
He added the percentage of injuries sustained was minimal when compared to the high number of people who skated there.
“Councillor Kilcoyne's concern's are not real. The Mall will be left in pristine condition once we have a few fine days to carry out repairs and lay some grass seed.”
Councillor Cyril Burke said the event was a learning curve for all stakeholders and it would not have had the same impact with the public if it was located in the military barracks or another site.
He said he was informed by the hospital that the injuries sustained, which included two bone breakages, was no worse that what would occur during 'a bad day of frost in Castlebar'.
Councillor Al McDonnell said most agricultural land in Mayo was inaccessible at the moment. He was in no doubt that the Mall will be in perfect order by St. Patrick's Day and had faith in the promoter to leave the site as he found it because he is hoping to be invited back next Christmas.
Councillor Frank Durcan agreed with Councillor Kilcoyne that the Mall is not the right site for it . But he did not recieve any complaints and was happy that young people enjoyed it.
Councillor Blackie Gavin said the event was a major success and he had very high regard for the promoters. “I hope the amenity returns next year and we can rectify whatever little mistakes may have occurred.”
John Condon, director of services, confirmed that the damage will be made good without any expense to the council.