Sligo Local Authorities Elect Mayor and Cathaoirleach
The AGM’s of Sligo Borough Council and Sligo County Council were held on the 26th June.
Councillor Tom McSharry was elected Mayor, with Councillor Jude Devins being elected Deputy Mayor.
At County Hall Councillor Jim McGarry was unanimously elected to the post of Cathaoirleach, and Councillor Jerry Lundy was elected Leas-Cathaoirleach. Newly elected Leas-Cathaoirleach Councillor Jerry Lundy receives the Chain of Office from outgoing Leas-Cathaoirleach Councillor Veronica Cawley
New Traffic Arrangements for City Centre
New traffic arrangements are being introduced to Sligo city in summer 2006 which will greatly enhance the ‘shopping experience’ by eliminating traffic from the city centre area. New traffic flows are being introduced to regulate the movement of traffic around the city. Under the first phase of the traffic plan:
- Old Market Street will be one way south
- There will be No exit from JFK Parade onto Thomas Street
- Improved junction capacity at “Veritas Corner” of John Street and Adelaide Street.
Alterations include introducing a left turn slip lane and green left turn arrow for traffic approaching junction from the south.
Under the second phase of the traffic plan in mid August, O’Connell St will be pedestrian only and will be closed to traffic.
Draft Mini-Plans for Carney, Coolaney and Dromore West
Sligo County Council proposes to make variations of the Sligo County Development Plan 2005 – 2011 for the purpose of incorporating three village land-use plans. The proposed variations are:
- Variation No 1: Carney Mini-Plan,
- Variation No 2: Coolaney-Rockfield Mini-Plan,
- Variation No 3: Dromore West Mini-Plan.
The Council has prepared a Draft Mini-Plan for each of the villages. Each Draft consists of a zoning map and a set of written objectives for the built and natural heritage, open space, building design, transport and circulation, community facilities, residential development, mixed use and essential infrastructure.
Public consultation is an essential part of the plan-making process. In order to raise awareness of the Draft Mini-Plans and to get feedback from the public, special meetings were arranged in June in Dromore West, Coolaney-Rockfield and Carney. A presentation was made on the Draft Mini-Plan for the village concerned, followed by an opportunity for questions.
It is important that the Draft Mini-Plans are examined and considered by anyone living or working in the villages, or other interested parties. A copy of the Draft Mini-Plans will be available for inspection until Friday 14th July, 2006, at the following locations:
Sligo County Council
County Hall, Riverside, Sligo
Monday – Friday:
9.00 am–5.00 pm (including lunchtimes)
Teach Laigne (One Stop Shop)
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday:
10.00 am—5.00 pm;
Tuesday 10.00 am—8.00 pm;
Saturday 10.00 am—4.00 pm
Sligo Central Library
Stephen Street, Sligo
Tuesday – Friday: 10am–5pm
Saturday: 10.00 am–1.00 pm; 2.00 pm–5.00pm
Sligo Reference Library
Westward Town Centre
Monday – Friday:
10.00 am – 12.45pm & 2.00 pm – 4.45pm
Enniscrone & Sligo Area Offices
9.00 am – 1.00 pm & 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Enniscrone Branch Library
Library opening hours
Council’s Website www.sligococo.ie
Copies of the Draft Mini-Plans may be purchased during this period at the Planning Office, Riverside, Sligo and at Teach Laighne, Tubbercurry. In addition, key extracts from the Draft Mini-Plans will be on public display at both of these locations.
Your views on the Draft Mini-Plans are invited. Submissions should be made in writing (hard copy or email) and headed “Draft Mini-Plans
”, clearly indicating the village to which the submission pertains.
All submissions should be sent to:
Sligo County Council,
Tel: (071) 9111216 / (071) 9111210
Any submission about specific lands or features should be accompanied by a map identifying the location concerned. All submissions received by 5.00 pm on Friday 14th July, 2006, and addressed as set out above will be taken into consideration before the making of the variations. A report with recommendations on all valid submissions or observations received will be prepared and presented to the Members of the County Council for their consideration.
Co-operation Ireland’s BorderTrek cycling challenge, which took place on the weekend of 24th and 25th June, was a resounding success.
Approximately 700 cyclists participated in either the 200 mile BorderTrek or the 52 mile MiniTrek events.
Glorious sunshine and stunning countryside contributed to its success along with the hard work of everyone who worked diligently to support and ensure the safety of all participants.
This year, every cyclist fundraised for Co-operation Ireland. Proceeds will go towards the charity’s range of programmes, which give hundreds of groups the opportunity to participate in cross-border projects that enable people to meet and create new friendships with those from other cultures. BorderTrek itself encompasses the ethos of the charity’s work in helping promote better relations between all communities in Ireland, North and South.
“We are thrilled with the response we have had to this year’s event. It ran extremely smoothly and the weather was perfect. We are grateful to everyone for their fundraising efforts, which will enable us to continue our core peace- building activities” said Terry O'Neill, Co-operation Ireland Fundraising Director. Cathaoirleach Patsy Barry congratulated all those involved in preparing for this event particularly Terry and his team and all the volunteers who have given of their time to make the event safe and enjoyable. He said that Sligo County Council is delighted to have played its part in making this event a success and we hope to continue to participate in the innovative partnership that is BorderTrek.
Amenities & Recreation
Riverstown playground is now close to completion with the official launch scheduled for July 17th.
Riverstown represents another example of partnership between the local community and Sligo County Council in relation to the development of play facilities. Sligo County Council has also secured funding to employ a Play and Recreation Development Officer who will devise an integrated county plan for the development of play and recreation infrastructure.
Sligo Borough Council’s Parks Department are currently undertaking a major programme of capital works to develop and upgrade recreational facilities and amenity areas around Sligo City. The following projects have advanced to tender stage:
Landscape enhancement and recreational development works at Sea View Drive, Cartron, Sligo. Works will include the construction of a new promenade along the foreshore, cycleways, walkways, public lighting and landscaping.
Landscape enhancement and recreational development works at Doorly Park, Sligo. Works will include the construction of multi sports play area, grass pitch, car park, walkways, cycle ways, and landscaping.
Landscape enhancement and recreational development works at Markievicz Road, Sligo.
Works will include development of new paved areas, walkways, seating and landscaping.
Full tender information is available on the Public Sector Procurement Opportunities website at www.etenders.gov.ie
or contact M. Condren at (071) 9114440. Closing date for receipt of tenders is 4.00 p.m. Friday 21st July 2006.
Anyone for Boules?
The development of a ‘Boules’ facility at Mitchell Curley Park is attracting lots of interest from newcomers to the sport. The Boules Courts are open seven days a week from early morning to late evening and the free facility is for all ages. The game of boules is perhaps the sport that is closest to French hearts and is similar to British lawn bowling or Italian bocce. The object of the game is to throw your balls — usually with somewhat of an arched back-spin — so that they land closer to the small object ball (cochonnet) than those of your opponent, or strike and drive the object ball toward your other balls and away from your opponent's.
There are organised nights every Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30 pm where you can pick up some tips from other players. To get there --- take Strandhill Road, then Larkhill Road, turn right at Oakfield roundabout (Murrays Shop), go past St. Marys GAA and the Park is on the right hand side.
Other facilities at Mitchell Curley Park are a GAA Pitch, a Soccer Pitch, Childrens Playground, car park, toilets and walkways.
Community Groups Selected for National Pride of Place Competition
Sligo County Council in co-operation with Sligo Borough Council recently held a county awards night to select five groups to represent Sligo town and county in the Co-operation All-Ireland Pride of Place Competition.
Pride of Place is a regional / area specific competition which celebrates and showcases community group activities and contributions to society. The focus is on people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their local area. Too often, the tremendous time and effort that people put into community activities on a purely voluntary basis is overlooked. This competition is unique in that it recognises and rewards people for their vital contributions to their local community.
The five groups selected to represent Sligo in this prestigious competition are:
- Population of less than 500 – Aclare
- Population of 501 to 1000 – Coolaney
- Population of 1001 to 2000 – Enniscrone
- Population of 2001 to 10,000 – Cranmore
This year a special category was introduced to honour communities involved in the development of initiatives in an innovative and participative manner –Easkey Community were selected in this category.
They are involved in an educational project that focuses efforts and resources in enhancing the quality of life, equality of opportunity and aims to promote full community participation in a unique way.
In the last two years, Sligo has been successful in winning two national awards; Riverstown Enterprise Development (Sligo) Ltd was an overall category winner in 2004 and last year, the community of Cranmore won a special endeavour award for its work in Outstanding Estate Management.
Judging for the National competition took place on Monday 3rd July, 2006 starting with Cranmore, Easkey and Enniscrone. On Tuesday 4th July the judging took place in Coolaney and Aclare. An itinerary of two hours duration was prepared by each community for the area visits which gave groups the opportunity to showcase the tremendous work and community driven activities which have evoked civic pride in the area. Unlike other competitions, judging for this competition is a very visible and community orientated event and therefore the active support and assistance of people living and working in these areas would be appreciated. The overall winners will be announced at a special ceremony in October held in Carlow and we wish all the participants the best of luck in their endeavours.
Official Languages Act
The primary objective of the Official Languages Act 2003 is to ensure a better availability and a higher standard of public services through Irish. The Act places a statutory obligation on public bodies to make specific provision for the delivery of services through a statutory scheme to be agreed for a three year period with the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Sligo County Council is preparing a draft a Scheme in accordance with Section 11 of the Act.
Submissions are invited in relation to the preparation of the draft scheme from any interested parties.
Submissions should be forwarded electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Friday, 28th July, 2006.
Public notice of preparation of the draft scheme will be published week commencing 10th July, 2006.
Blue Flags for Sligo Beaches
Sligo County Council was delighted to learn that the three beaches they had put forward as potential Blue Flag Beaches, had each passed all 29 criteria to be accepted as some of the best beaches in Europe. Thus Rosses Point, Mullaghmore and Enniscrone beaches each received Blue Flag status again in early June.
It is important to remember that the Blue Flag stands for more than just excellent bathing water quality. The Blue Flag for beaches covers 29 criteria which have developed over the years to become more holistic and to address the various issues of sustainability. These criteria cover issues such as environmental education and information about the coastal zone, dunes, and compliance with national environmental legislation, lifeguarding, rescue equipment, litter management, toilet facilities, animal control and more.
Sligo County Council has invested substantial sums of money into meeting the beach criteria and has continued to meet with the tougher standards set this year for Blue Flag beaches. This year improvement by the council on these award winning beaches include the installation of ‘pooper scoopers’ so dog owners can responsibly and safely dispose of their dog’s poo. Beach Guards have been trained and will be on duty 7 days a week at these three beaches throughout the weeks of July and August. They will also be giving away colouring books, bookmarks and other gifts to children that call into the huts. (Lifeguards will also be full time at Streedagh this summer and at weekends at Dunmoran).
Shortly Enniscrone will see the installation of a barrier across the beach entrance. This will address the large number of complaints received about public safety and environmental damage with cars racing along the beach as access onto the beach will be controlled and managed. This will also mean we won’t have the chaos of recent bank holidays with cars blocked and unable to leave the beach as the tide was fast approaching.
Sligo’s Blue Flag beaches are under continued pressure due to vandalism, littering, human-caused dune destruction and other impacts (loose dogs and dog faeces). But we can all do our bit to protect them. Litter accounted for a majority of the issues encountered by An Taisce inspectors at our Blue Flag beaches last summer. So bring your litter home and if you see anyone dumping litter challenge them to bring it home, or ring in with the car registration number to Sligo County Council’s environment section –9111900.
COUNTY DEVELOPMENT BOARD NEWS
Pilot Project for Sligo
Sligo County Development Board has been selected by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to develop a pilot Labour Market Initiative for Lone Parents. The project is entitled ‘Pathways to Employment for People Parenting Alone’ or PEPPA project.
The County Development Board three year action plan 2006-2008 identified lone parents as one of the groups in society most vulnerable to poverty, exclusion and long-term unemployment. Inflexible work-practices and competition with highly qualified graduates are some of the factors which mitigate accessing quality employment and reaching a decent standard of living for themselves and their children. The danger of this cycle of poverty being passed from one generation to the next is one of the most critical issues that society in general, and local service providers in particular, must address through targeted intervention and community development.
This Board have proposed to develop an interagency education and training initiative based on individualised career path planning with thirty lone parents and an analysis of local labour market needs. The project will commence in September 2006 with an in-depth research phase followed by the roll-out of a high support training programme including work placements and building linkages with local employers and educational establishments. In addition to the core group who will avail of the high support programme, it is estimated that at least another thirty people will be sign-posted to other supports available locally. The programme will be rolled out in Sligo City, Tubbercurry and Ballymote through the Family Resource Centres in each area.
The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has requested Sligo County Development Board to facilitate the United Nations Human Rights Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Refugee Quota Programme. The role of the CDB will be to co- rdinate local public services to facilitate the resettlement of ten families of Iranian Kurds who will be arriving in Sligo over the coming months.
Ireland is currently one of 18 UN countries committed to the UNHCR Resettlement Quota Programme. Sligo CDB recognises the need to facilitate an integrated response to meeting the needs of the refugee community in the County and this programme will provide the basis for more integrated working in this regard. The Office of Community and Enterprise will be co-ordinating this on behalf of the CDB in conjunction with local health, education, employment and information service providers.
A key element of the County Development Board's work is to promote the integration of public services through co-ordination, co-operation and collaboration. This project is a another example of agencies working together and involves the following agencies: FAS, Sligo VEC, Tubbercurry Family Resource Centre, Ballymote Family Resource Centre, Sligo Family Resource Centre, Institute of Technology, Sligo, Department of Social and Family Affairs, Sligo County Childcare Committee, Sligo Leader Partnership Company, Sligo County Council, Sligo County Enterprise Board, ICTU, Lone Parent Representatives and RAPID AIT. The initiative is currently being co-ordinated through the local authority’s Office of Community and Enterprise but will be implemented through Sligo VEC.
Pilot Regeneration Commences in Cranmore
Sligo Borough Council recently signed the contracts for the Cranmore Regeneration Pilot Project which will see the elimination of derelict houses in the estate. The Pilot Project has come about though funding secured from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government to carry out a refurbishment programme for the derelict houses in the estate, thereby addressing the negative impact of the houses on the image of the estate. The refurbishment programme will see the derelict houses refurbished to high standards and specifications in accordance with the current building regulations, with the exception of two bungalows in Benson Drive which will be demolished and the area landscaped and re-developed.
The refurbishment programme marks a significant achievement for the project with work on site due to commences on 4th July. Last week Deputy County Manager, Tom Kilfeather and Town Clerk, John McNabola formally signed the contract agreement on behalf of Sligo Borough Council with TH Contractors Ltd, a Mayo based construction firm who were selected to carry out the works following two separate tendering processes. Members of the Community and elected Members joined the officials of Sligo Borough Council for the official signing of the contract agreement.
The commencement of the Pilot Project comes as the strategy for the overall regeneration of the Cranmore estate is submitted to the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government for approval and funding. Earlier this month members of the Project Team met with Department officials to present and discuss the Draft Master Plan for the re-development of the Cranmore estate. The Draft Master Plan which has received the endorsement of the Community Platform, the Steering Committee and Members of Sligo Borough Council sets out a series of proposals for the redevelopment of the estate, in order to improve the quality of living for the residents living there. The key proposals contained in the plan include the provision of competitive sports facilities in the Cleveragh area to allow for the re-development of Sean Fallon pitch (currently located in the Cranmore estate) for multi purpose sport and recreation to serve the Cranmore Community; the provision of a Neighbourhood Centre in the middle of the estate to accommodate community, enterprise and local agencies in delivering outreach services, as well as a complete refurbishment of Sligo Borough Council’s housing stock with provision for partial works by the private sector.
Commenting on the submission of the Draft Master plan for Cranmore, Project Leader Jennifer Murphy said “our meeting with the Department went very well and we are hopeful of a positive response to our submission. A lot of time, energy and creative thinking has gone into developing the strategy for Cranmore and we believe the proposals in the plan submitted to the Department will bring enormous benefits and positive transformation to the Cranmore Community. We look forward to a favourable response from the Department in due course”.
The submission of the Draft Master Plan followed a lengthy consultation process with the Community and other key stakeholders. The Draft Master Plan was launched for consultation in September last year and since then a series of high profile open day consultation events were held in the Cranmore Community and with individual resident associations regarding localised issues to be addressed. The Project Team now await official response from the Department Officials regarding the proposals contained in the Draft Masterplan.
In the meantime, the commencement of the Pilot Project on site and the completion of the new Cranmore Playground signals the start of the regeneration process in Cranmore and both are seen as significant ‘early wins’ for the Community. As with all regeneration projects, the time frame from the initial planning through to completion is lengthy. It is therefore important the project delivers early wins so that the Community can see the early signs of regeneration taking place in their neighbourhood. Details of the Pilot Project are available at the Cranmore Regeneration Project office based at 37 Racecourse View.
Development Strategies for Tubbercurry and Enniscrone
Sligo County Council is delighted to announce the appointment of Geraldine Timlin as Economic Development Officer for Tubbercurry and Enniscrone. The Ballina native previously worked as development officer in West Sligo and as Easkey Enterprise Officer. Here she outlines how this initiative started and what it hopes to achieve:
Both Enniscrone and Tubbercurry are seen as key support towns in the county as between them they serve a wide hinterland. However, both areas are seen not to have benefited from the economic boom of the 1990's. It is hoped that this strategic planning, in the areas of tourism and business, will elevate the towns to a more recognised platform. All strategies will be developed within the context of the County Development Board plan. “My remit is to drive economic regeneration and tourism development by liaising with local business, the wider community, and statutory and non-statutory agencies in both areas”.
The objective of the two year project is to implement new development strategies for both Tubbercurry and Enniscrone. The aim will be to create a strategy for each area to use as a marketing tool to attract business and tourism to the area. It will also give short, medium and long term goals for the future, to essentially raise the profiles of Enniscrone and Tubbercurry. A key role will involve bringing main council players to the west of the county in Enniscrone and to the south in Tubbercurry, as well as highlighting the areas which have organisations such as FAS, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Enniscrone already has an existing enterprise space which the community will market under the new strategy. Tourism is a priority for Enniscrone. The beaches have made tourism the town's bread and butter for many years. I will be looking at how to attract long-term business to the area as well as developing what is already in place. The feasibility of doing the same in Tubbercurry will also be examined as they currently have no enterprise space and we will look at developing tourism especially to strengthen links with the South Sligo Summer School, a summer celebration of Irish traditional music and dance, and the Old Fair Day committee.
Vital to the success of this project, is to develop close links with the towns' Chamber of Commerce, Family Resource Centre, local groups and the County Council itself. It is important that we consult with the community on what they consider to be the way forward. Historically there has always been a strong Tidy Towns tradition in Enniscrone, and Tidy Towns has made a come back in Tubbercurry. I will also make contact with the various departments and officers in the County Council and provide advice for those living in the towns. I will be the link with Sligo County Enterprise Board for businesses that are starting up or looking to expand in these areas. The aim is to have a focused and cohesive approach to development in both towns.
Geraldine is currently meeting with various groups in Enniscrone and Tubbercurry to see what specifically needs to be done in each area. "We will then come up with a strategy to move forward from that; for example, ensuring that an efficient broadband system is available and to encourage businesses to locate and relocate to both areas."
The new project will also ensure both Enniscrone and Tubbercurry develop links with the Western Development Commission, which promotes economic and social development in the Northwest.
Making Cross Border Music
Instrumentalists from Sligo and Omagh got together for a day’s playing of chamber music in The Model & Niland Gallery on Sunday June 25th. In a new initiative supported by Omagh Sligo Partnership these mostly young musicians were provided with the context to discover something of the talent and musical activities that exist on the other side of the border – and maybe to discover the joys of playing chamber music.
The idea behind the initiative for those involved in performing classical music in both towns is to explore the possibilities of more ambitious musical collaborations between the two towns in the future; partly, it is just great to expand musical networks.
The event was successful for all who participated and contributed to it, if you would like more information about this event please contact (for musicians) Rod Alston 071-9854122); Elisabeth Goell, Omagh Sligo Partnership – 071-9111802
Local Brigades Visit Co. Fermanagh
On Saturday last, 24th June a trip was organised through the Community Development Exchange programme for Sligo Girls Brigade, Lisnaskea Girls Brigade and Trillick Boys Brigade.
Mr Sean Dolan ensured that 10 enthusiastic Girls from Sligo Girls Brigade attended the activity day in Castle Island Centre Enniskillen. Upon arrival at the canoe centre the participants were introduced to the instructors and the group from Trillick.The groups were provided with wet suits and were divided into mixed groups and introduced to their canoes. Instruction was given on how to steer the canoes and use paddlers, this proved to be a highly participative exercise which contributed to the team building between the groups.
Following the canoeing activity, the participants enjoyed a session of archery and tried their aim at the bulls’s eye! The activities provided by the Castle Island Centre contributed significantly to team building, the sharing of cultural perceptions and the ethos of cross border network building.
Following the canoeing activity, everyone was ready for lunch; leaders had the opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies for encouraging potential leaders to support our companies. This was of great value in these times of voluntary leadership shortages and the demanding needs of working with youth groups.
All the participants considered that this was an enjoyable and worthwhile exchange experience and were grateful to the Omagh-Sligo partnership for encouraging and making a day like this possible with their financial support.
Omagh Sligo Partnership Reception
Cllr Seamus Shields, Chairman of Omagh Sligo Partnership held a reception recently to acknowledge the contribution of community, voluntary and statutory organisations who participated in the creation of cross border networks between groups in Omagh and Sligo. Under Measure 5.2 the Partnership received funding from Co-Operation Ireland to administer the current project which has cemented strong working relationships between Omagh and Sligo local authorities and other organisations at public and community sector levels.
The objectives of the current project were built around the following themes.
- Enterprise and Economic Development
- Community Development
- Innovation in Cross Border Development
Cllr Seamus Shields welcomed those present and stated that he hoped that the relationships created through assistance from the Partnership would flourish. He also pointed out that sharing of best practice between cross border groups was essential to the sustainability and development of community groups.
New Appointment to Rapid Office
The Office of Community and Enterprise wish to announce the appointment of Pamela Andison as the new RAPID Co-ordinator for Sligo. Pamela has previously worked as Community Development Officer in Sligo Borough Council and comes with nine years experience having worked with community and voluntary groups and with CLASP in Lough Arrow and Cluid Housing Association.
The post was previously occupied by Bridie Conway who has now been appointed to the position of Housing Officer in Sligo Borough Council. Bridie put in trojan work to establish the programme in its target areas of Cranmore, Forthill, Carton Estate, Doorly Park, Garavogue, St. Joseph’s Terrace, St. Bridget’s Place, Pilkington Terrace, Magheraboy and Merville areas. Numerous projects that would not otherwise have advanced, were endorsed and / or initiated in the RAPID office and have their roots in the community.
Pamela is looking forward to hearing from community groups and service providers in the designated areas since the programme is developing a new Strategic Plan over the coming months. The Area Implementation Team is made up of representatives of the main State agencies and community representatives from the three largest RAPID areas. Using the spirit of co-operation and coordination, the agencies and communities can better target investment where it is most needed.
You can contact Pamela at (071) 9111807 or by email at email@example.com
Need Your Rubbish Dumped?
Remember your Rubbish is your Responsibility!
It is a legal requirement for all producers of waste to give waste to a permitted waste collector or dispose of waste at a licensed waste facility. It is your duty to ensure that the person to whom you give your waste has all the legally required licences and permits. Failure to do this can mean prosecution under the Waste Management Acts.
If you are in doubt:
- Ask to see a hardcopy of your waste collectors permit - (they are obliged to carry it on their collection vehicle),
- Contact the Environment Section, Sligo County Council, Tel: 071- 9111906, or
- Check the status of your waste collectors permit on the web-site: www.connaughtwaste.ie.
Interview with James Walsh (featured in last month’s issue of Business Sligo)
Can you take us through the process of how the ‘One Stop Shop’ came to fruition?
Teach Laighne in Tubbercurry opened its doors to the public of South Sligo in 2003. However, preparation and planning had begun much earlier. In October 1997 it was agreed at a meeting of Sligo County Council to make a submission to the Minister for the Environment to have Tubbercurry considered as a location for a pilot “One Stop Shop” initiative. The fact that the application was successful was due in no small way to the quality of the submission made and also to the efforts of the former Councillor and Dáil Deputy Mattie Brennan who was especially helpful in a number of ways.
A total of eight properties were acquired from seven different owners and construction commenced in 2001. Funding for the project came from a variety of sources including the Department of the Environment and Local Government, An Comhairle Leabharlanna, Motor Taxation, the Court Services and a significant investment by Sligo County Council.
What hurdles had to be overcome?
In determining a location for the project, a number of sites were considered. However, it was decided that the greatest impact could be made by choosing an area close to the town centre but which had been neglected over a long number of years for various reasons.
Quite a number of properties in Tubbercurry and particularly on Humbert Street did not have freehold title but were occupied on leases or in some cases sub-leases. This situation meant that property owners were reluctant to improve the buildings as they were unsure whether following improvement, a claim might be made on their property by a third party of whom they were unaware.
By using the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act to acquire the properties, the Council were in a position to establish clear title and proceed without having the worries of the previous occupants.
In providing this facility, what does it aim to achieve?
There were a number of objectives in mind when this facility was first mooted. The obvious aim is to deliver from one premise a co-ordinated range of public services. In addition to having an Area Office for Sligo County Council, Teach Laighne also hosts the Community Library, Motor Taxation Office, Planning and Housing Clinics, Department of Social & Family Affairs, Sligo Citizen’s Information Service and FÁS together with the Environmental Health, Social Work, Family Welfare Conference and Community Welfare departments of the Health Service Executive. The Courts Service also holds the monthly sitting of the District Court in the building on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
Would you agree that this investment in South Sligo has served as a catalyst to other important developments in the area?
The venture has shown itself to be very effective in a number of ways. The Community Library has been the major player in introducing the facility to the general public and figures show that the Motor Taxation office for example is now handling approximately 20% of all the Drivers Licence and Taxation transactions for the County and is also processing all of the parking offences queries.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the scheme is the use that is being made of the building by voluntary and community groups from the area. In the design of the project two of the original houses were retained in order to preserve the streetscape and the ground floor of these is now used as a meeting/activity room by a wide range of organisations. These include such regular users as the local Active Age group, Gallagher House Resource Centre, Bridge Club, Chess & Draughts Club and Tubbercurry Women’s Group together with a host of other occasional users.
Other benefits have also followed as a result of this initiative; the building itself has made a significant improvement to the image of the town as it is approached from the Sligo direction and other owners who have renovated premises in the area have indeed added to this. A measure of the confidence being shown is the fact that 3 new business premises have opened within metres of Teach Laighne inside the last 2 years. The people of Tubbercurry and the surrounding areas now have a facility they are proud of and this was perhaps best illustrated when An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, who incidentally had turned the first sod some years previously, opened an Art Exhibition here in April 2005.
If you have any queries on the services provided at Teach Laighne please feel free to contact (071) 9111706. Teach Laighne – serving the people of South Sligo.