Minister Hildegarde Naughton pictured at the launch of the Night Time Economy Taskforce Report

Night-time economy proposal for Mayo town

MAYO County Council is putting together a submission for Ballina to be one of six Irish towns/cities selected to take part in a new night-time economy pilot programme.

Tom Gilligan, director of services, said if successful, it would provide opportunities and invite ideas for the town.

The application call for local authorities will close on June 24 and the chosen cities/towns will be announced this summer.

Mr. Gilligan said that even if unsuccessful in its application for Ballina, elements will come out of it that will be worthwhile going forward.

He revealed that the subsmission is being made after Councillor Seamus Weir complained that it is difficult if not impossible to get a taxi after 11.30 p.m. in Ballina now.

The submisssion, Mr. Gilligan explained, would link in with transport at night-time.

A better late-night bus service could be a huge part of a successful night-time economy, said Councillor Jarlath Munnelly.

Councillor Mark Duffy said the night-time economy proposal is an exciting one that offers a great opportunity for the town centre.

On the wider economic performance of the town, Councillor John O'Hara complained about the number of vacant buildings in Ballina town centre and suggested the MD should set up a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club with a view to coming up with suggestions on how to attract more businesses to come to Ballina, perhaps by offering something by way of an incentive.

"We have to get more shops," he said. "It's getting more derelict by the day."

However, Mr. Gilligan said a number of vacant properties will be coming back into use and pointed out that work is ongoing in relation to vacancy and the Derelict Sites Register.

"There are proposals on the table," he said. "It might seem to be a slow process but there certainly are some positive shoots appearing at the moment."