Comments were during discussion on inviting Jigsaw Ireland to provide services in Mullingar area.

Councillor critical of 'children using their phones till 2 and 3am'

News from the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad

Children and phones

Parents who let their children go on their phones until 2 and 3am have been criticised by Cllr Mick Dollard, who worked in the psychiatric services for “donkey’s years”.

Speaking at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad, he said that parents have a huge role to play in supervising their children’s time on their phones and on social media, but a lot are not adhering to their responsibilities. Cllr Dollard was supporting a motion from Cllr Aoife Davitt asking that Jigsaw Ireland be asked to provide services in Mullingar and surrounding areas.

Cllr Davitt, who works in a school, said lots of young people have to go to other counties to avail of Jigsaw services privately. Cllr Denis Leonard seconded the motion saying that mental health is one of the biggest issues facing Ireland at the moment, particularly post-Covid, and the services of Jigsaw Ireland would be very welcome in Westmeath. It was agreed that a letter would issue to Jigsaw Ireland.

Bump in Streete road

A bump in the road at Rath, Old School, Streete, needs to be removed “tomorrow,” not next year, demanded Cllr Paddy Hill at the monthly meeting of the municipal district. He had been told that section of road is included for restoration in 2024, but argued that the bump is “quite dangerous” and should be removed sooner. Cllr Hill also complained about the state of the road from Multyfarnham to Coole. He was told that a section of the road is scheduled for surface dressing this year and a further section is included for 2024. He was advised that drainage works and repairs at Lispopple, Coole can be considered in the 2023 estimates.

Jet ski problem

Jet skis are causing problems for anglers and swimmers, despite bye-laws banning them on designated lakes in Westmeath, according to Cllr Emily Wallace. She complained at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad that the problem has become more prevalent during the good weather and demanded that the council take action. Director of services, David Jones, said that if there were breaches of the bye-laws, they should be reported. The council need details of the breaches in order to enforce the bye-laws and interact with those breaching them, he said. He agreed to look at the possibility of putting a contact telephone number on the signs at the lakes.

Coffee at Belvedere

People are being charged to go into Belvedere House and Gardens for a cup of coffee, complained Cllr Emily Wallace at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad. She asked that access issues at this tourist attraction be addressed and that work on the restoration of the house be speeded up. Funding of €200,000 has been secured for conservation works on the roof of the house.

Consultants have been appointed to prepare a conservation management plan and assess the roof and scope of works required, but Cllr Wallace argued that it is time to be “getting bricks on the ground”. She was told that the matter could be discussed at the quarterly meeting of the Belvedere committee.

Kinnegad footpaths

Having spent €150,000 on widening the footpaths in Kinnegad, Westmeath County Council is reluctant to put up bollards to stop illegal parking. They would prefer that the parking laws would be enforced by gardaí. The issue was raised by Cllr Emily Wallace at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad.

She called for bollards at Kinnegad Agri Store and said that the move had been recommended by the gardaí. Cllr Wallace claimed that cars are “hopping that verge every day” and pedestrians are being pushed out on the road. She said that widening the footpaths made it easier for lorries and cars to park on them. The gardaí cannot monitor it every day, she added.

Director of services, David Jones, said the council would keep the matter under consideration, but they had concerns about narrowing the footpaths after spending so much money widening them.

Ardmore Road paths

The cycleway and footpaths at Ardmore Road, Mullingar, are expected to be completed by September and work on the bridge should start by the end of the year, Cllr Andrew Duncan was told at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad.

Cllr Duncan welcomed this news and news that preparations are at an advanced stage in relation to the clean-up and planting scheme at Dalton Park, Mullingar. He said “fair play” to the environment section, particularly John Jackson, and the Tidy Towns committee for getting involved in the scheme again and for doggedly staying with it.

Cllr Duncan was also told that minor remedial works will be carried out to alleviate flooding at a residence at Grand Parade, Mullingar.

Collinstown clean-up

A good clean-up of the area opposite St Mary’s cemetery, Collinstown, would provide extra parking and improve the appearance of the area and it wouldn’t cost a lot, said Cllr Paddy Hill at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad.

When told that the proposal could be considered in next year’s estimates, Cllr Hill asked that other sources of funding such as Active Travel be explored. Cllr Hill also proposed that the council look at the junction on road L5929, Ballykildevin, Correaly, with a view to improving safety and that they consider changing the traffic priority. He was seconded by Cllr Frank McDermott.

The members were advised that this has been inspected. At present, the Correaly cul-de-sac has to yield to traffic on the secondary road. This would be normal practice and there are no plans to change priority at this junction. However, the council will review the situation.

Bus shelters needed

People should not be left standing in the rain, waiting for a bus, declared Cllr Bill Collentine. At the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad he said that bus shelters were needed in four or five locations in Mullingar. He was told that a meeting of the National Transport Authority and the council is to be arranged to progress provision of bus shelters on a countywide basis.

David Jones, director of services, explained that the NTA will not look at putting in shelters “piecemeal,” they take a countywide approach. The council must compile a list of locations in the county. He asked Cllr Collentine to let him know the locations he had identified.

Monilea pull-in bays

A call for pull-in bays between Slevin’s bus depot at Knockatee, Monilea, Mullingar, and the main road – R394 was made by Cllr Emily Wallace at the June meeting of the Municipal Council. She was told that this would require landowners to provide the necessary land and funding would be needed. It could be considered as a community involvement scheme. The council would meet local people on site to consider the matter.

Austin Friars St loading bay

A loading bay in Austin Friars Street, Mullingar, would, in effect, do away with parking there, Cllr Bill Collentine was advised at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad. He was told that a loading bay in lower Pearse Street is available for use by businesses in Austin Friars Street. Cllr Collentine asked that the council “have another look at it”.

Wheelchair lines at The Cut

A special request for wheelchair marking lines at The Cut, Lough Lene, was submitted by Cllr Frank McDermott at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad. He asked that these lines be provided in time for a fishing competition due to be held there in July.

He was assured that this would be examined. And while they are at it, Cllr McDermott suggested that the same machine could provide double yellow lines at Fore NS. At the moment the bus pulls up to go swimming or to games and cars have the entrance blocked.

Yellow box at hospital

A yellow box at the entrance to Mullingar Regional Hospital and a footpath between Hazelgrove and Petitswood Close were requested by Cllr Mick Dollard at the June meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad. He was assured that the yellow traffic junction box would be provided and that the footpath requested could be considered in next year’s estimates.