Footpath construction investigation called for

A MAYO County Council member wants the local authority to get to the bottom of the construction of a section of footpath in Ballina.

Councillor Gerry Ginty said the planning conditions attached to a development on Behy Road clearly indicate that footpath works were to be carried out by the developer before the commencement of work on the site.

However, the council constructed a section of footpath, on foot of a notice of motion, and not the developer, and Councillor Ginty said he wanted to know why.

He explained that while he seconded Councillor Annie May Reape's notice of motion to have the footpath constructed on health and safety grounds, he immediately went to council management when, a few days later, it was pointed out to him that construction of the path was a condition applied to a planning application for a local development. He had originally thought it was a 'normal footpath in a normal place'.

“I would love to see the footpath done, but I would love to see it done as part of the conditions applied (to the planning application),” said Councillor Ginty.

He called for a complete investigation into the matter, which he raised as members were asked to approved the roadworks programme for 2019 for Ballina Municipal District at their March monthly meeting today. An additional allocation of €30,000 has been made for phase two of the Behy Road footpath project.

“All my time in the council, I've never seen anything as totally wrong as this,” said Councillor Ginty, who added that he attached no blame to the developer in the matter.

Councillor Jarlath Munnelly said there were more questions than answers concernning the matter and he couldn't understand why it wasn't pointed out that the condition existing at the point the notice of motion was tabled.

He didn't think the council had any grounds to seek the money back as it was a mistake made by Mayo County Council.

Councillor Michael Smyth, cathaoirleach, Ballina Municipal District, proposed that a report be compiled by the senior engineer dealing with the issues raised by Councillor Ginty, which was seconded by Councillor Michael Loftus. Councillor Ginty suggested that footpath works on the relevant section of road be suspended until after the report is completed, though it was agreed that other works such as lighting can continue.

Beyond the Behy Road footpath issue, the local roadworks programme was approved by council members.