Westmeath has the "most useless council of all time", according to a Mullingar based businessman.
Well known Mullingar retailer Des Walsh was speaking at a meeting organised Monday night to discuss ways to revitalise the town's retail sector when he laid into the council for what he sees at their lack of support.
"Westmeath has the most useless council of all time, both the executive and councillors because only about 20 percent of our councillors have any retail experience," Mr Walsh said.
"The others just don't have a clue and as a result we are wasting our time. We have gone to them with all sorts of suggestions and ideas and they take it on board and ignore it. Unless we threaten a rate strike they won't do a damn thing. Not that I'm promoting a rates strike at the moment.
"They will pay lip service to the heart of the town and keeping it alive but they do nothing.
"We've gone to the council with simple things like change the parking rules. Maybe give the first hour free like in Westport or free parking before 11am. They told us that they wouldn't know how to operate it.
"Now what sort of idiots are they that they can't go over to Westport and see how they do it? That's what we are up against here.
"We have the most useless executive and councillors, and unless something is done in the local elections it may change a bit but in the mean time we're really up against it."
The well attended meeting in the Annebrook House Hotel, which was organised by Deputy Robert Troy and chaired by his Fianna Fáil colleague Deputy John McGuinness, featured talks by David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland and DIT retail lecturer Damien O'Reilly.
Mr Fitzsimons told those assembled that the business community needs to follow the example of their counterparts in Limerick and Carlow and establish a Town Team that will work with the local authority to boost the town's fortunes.
He also noted that a town of Mullingar's size needs a town manager.
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