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Westmeath Topic - 9 November 2017

2 TOPIC • 9

2 TOPIC • 9 November, 2017 NEWS THIS WEEK ENTERTAINMENT MEM players get set for Brush with a Body FEATURE Spark a Revolution CASTLEPOLLARD Fresh hopes for St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2018 BY CLAIRE CORRIGAN As Topic reported, the entire St. Patricks Day Committee stepped down last month. However there was renewed hope that Mullingar would hold an event for 2018 at a meeting at the latest Mullingar Town Team meeting on Monday of this week. Speaking at the meeting, former committee chairperson Ruth Illingworth explained that due to a very small attendance at the most recent AGM, the members made the decision to step down. “It’s really very difficult a parade with that small of a number. It has become more difficult to run a parade because the town is a lot larger and there’s now more demands in relation to health and safety. She commented that it would be lovely to see the “artistic brilliance” showcased in the shop windows over Halloween and Christmas applied to the St. Patrick’s Day floats, “We used to have lots of business floats in the town, comparable buildings are altogether inappropriate (in valuations).” “Our Credit Union has been valued not much different from the four banks combined” he said, “and ordinary businesses have a parade and seem to have lost that.” Ms. Illingworth said she would reconsider her decision to step down and said she would be available to help put together an event for 2018, “With a team of ten or 11, we could to it. One committee has suggested we might have a street this year for cultural events, music and dancing and a street with food and crafts as a celebration of our culture.” Town Team Chair Ms. Angela Maher, a St. Patrick’s Day committee veteran herself, congratulated the outgoing committee on this year’s parade, “When you look and see the people who come out and help on the day and got washed out of it. All I could say was it was a credit to them and the committee. There was a team of about 15 people behind me when I was on the committee. I believe we can pull a group together that will have an event for Mullingar next year and promote the table quiz (Thursday, 16 November, Clarke’s Bar, 8pm) and encourage as many people Scenes from the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. as possible to attend that. I think we will be at a loss if there isn’t an event. Money and bodies have to be found to put on something of a high standard and we should work towards that.” Sergeant Roger Nicholson said that the Mullingar Half Marathon was anticipating numbers valuation of more than the likes of Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank.” “That cannot be right, it just can’t!” he protested. When Town Team member Angela Maher felt it was useful that the figures are now in the public sphere, Mr. Allen commented “But its too late.” Mr. Allen further remarked that he believes the lower rates were a reflection of these national organisations’ ability to employ consultants. I would love to see the basis of the submissions some of these businesses of 1,400 runners and with the parade falling on a Saturday, organisers could capitalise on the high number of visitors to the town, “People will be more likely to stay for the weekend and come on the Friday night and then there is the Saturday night afterwards.” Ms. Illingworth also took made, and what adjustments were made,” he concluded. Local auctioneer Eddie King remarked that they had “valued the shopping centre the same as the main street, but we haven’t got the same footfall, so there are big questions.” Ms. Maher said that most businesses had received notifications for their 2018 Rates Valuations, and they were aware Valuations were up from between 100% and 600% in some cases. “The rate will be struck at the next Council meeting, and we think it will be in the area of 1.85 (of the valuation). Many people had indicated they will be struggling to pay the new rates, and don’t know what will happen next year, especially people gone up by 400%. “We think this is a done deal unless you have a successful appeal,” she said. the opportunity to praise fellow committee member Jason Scarff who she said has done tremendous work in terms of organising events through the town, “He is a great asset to the town and has made the marathon a huge success. We are very lucky to have him.” “Hugely unfair” Mullingar valuations condemned Contd. from page 1 In some cases, particularly industry, rates decreased, but a lot of retail rates went up. “This is where trouble comes in for small and medium sized businesses” she said, advising people to come and talk to them if they are worried, as they didn’t want to see more Mullingar business closures. Mr. Allen commented that the new valuations could be viewed, but no background was provided about how they were reached. Tom Hyland, Chamber of Commerce President, suggested the process was “very transparent” and information was based on rental income. He felt it came down to how much floor space was office or storage. Ms. Maher said she didn’t believe people got enough assistance in filling out the initial forms, and many didn’t understand the implications. Castlepollard Community College’s upcoming musical Broken nose, broken fingers in linked Mullingar incidents Contd. from page 1 aged to get the three attackers out of the house. It is understood the house was also damaged. Gardaí believe both incidents were connected and they are continuing their investigations. SERIOUS STABBING IN KINNEGAD Gardaí are continuing a definite line of enquiry in their efforts to locate a person who was involved in a serious stabbing incident in Kinnegad which left one young man badly injured, with a punctured lung and laceration of his liver. For a time, it appeared as if the Kinnegad man’s injuries could be life threatening, and he was airlifted by helicopter to Tallaght Hospital, and the incident scene was cordoned off by the Gardai. The incident began in a laneway in the Heathfield housing estate in Kinnegad at 11.15am on Saturday Ulster Bank and AIB Mullingar. morning, 4 November. Gardaí believe that a house party, which may have lasted the entire night, may have been ongoing when the incident occurred. A man in his 20s was attacked by a man in his 30s, with the injured party receiving five stab wounds. The victim suffered a punctured lung and a laceration to his liver amongst other injuries. The emergency services were called and it was decided to airlift the man to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin to be treated for his serious injuries. The suspect fled the scene immediately and when Gardaí arrived they searched for the weapon that was used but could not locate it. Gardaí preserved the scene which was technically examined by the Scenes of Crime officers. An extensive search was also carried out to find the suspect, but he could not be located. A case conference was arranged for Kinnegad on Sunday and Gardaí spoke to a number of witnesses to the incident. Gardaí believe the men involved were known to each other and both were from the Kinnegad area. Gardaí believe they know the suspect involved but up to time of going to press, they had not located him. It is understood the injured man is expected to recover from the injuries he suffered. Mullingar Credit Union building.

TOPIC • 9 November, 2017 NEWS 3 COUNCIL BACKS SCHEME FOR 97 NEW RESIDENTIAL UNITS IN TOWN Access from new Primary Care Centre road, Harbour Road Westmeath County Council has officially notified the public, through a national newspaper advertisement, that it plans to contravene the Mullingar Local Area Plan (2014-2020) in order to allow permission for a major private housing development off Harbour Road and accessible from the new access road to the Primary Care Centre opened last year. The proposed mixed-use development by Kelbuild Ltd., c/o The Planning Partnership, Oliver Plunkett St., Mullingar on a site in Robinstown townland beside the Canal Supply and behind the existing Primary Care Centre, consists of 97 units (65 houses and 32 apartments), a child care facility and commercial uses. The 2.75 hectare site will have two apartment blocks, 4/5 storeys high, with 16 residential units in each above commercial ground floor units. The plan also involves 65 houses, 8 three-bed and 57 four-bed, two and three storey, with 4,210 sq. m. landscaped open space area, including a centralised “pocket park” and pedestrian footpath to the Mullingar Greenway. The new access road is from the existing new road off Harbour Road into the Primary Care Centre. The site is officially described as “Harbour Road/Marten’s Lane,Robinstown. The planning file indicates that the developers involved have been in consultation with the County Council since earlier this year and on 6 January last, the design team indicated the applicant’s intention and willingness to enter into an agreement for provision of social housing. As early as March last, residents on Harbour Road, Mullingar wrote to the Council’s planning department objecting to the granting of planning permission for the development. One resident expressed “huge concern” about safety issues because of entry and exit onto Harbour Road opposite Loreto College, and referring to the long queues of cars, buses and lorries at different times, and with cyclists and pedestrians using the footpaths. The proposed development would further increase the volume of vehicles using Harbour Road, which did not appear to have been taken into consideration. They also objected to work and loud noise late at night and after 4am in the morning during the Primary Care Construction work. Another objector complained about how they as long-time existing Harbour Road residents, were treated during construction of the Medical Care Centre, with promises not delivered on, and stating they were not going to be treated similarly in this instance. In any planning permit, it was essential that there be a strict limit on the number of housing units permitted. No out of hours night work, particularly during pile driving on the flood plain should be allowed, and they needed guarantees that run off from the new development would not swamp land to The entrance for the proposed access road to the units off the road to the new Primary Health Care Centre. the rear of their home. As the proposal would result in over 300 people living on site, and these new residents would have an overview of the rear of Harbour Road houses, this further invasion of privacy must be minimised fully and their security would be further threatened by the development, the objectors stated. CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS The Council’s advertisement, dated 24 October says any submission or observation “as regards making a decision to grant permission” received “not later than 4 weeks after 24 October (which would be Tuesday week, 21 November) will be duly considered.” ends A view of the site for the 97 residential units, behind the healthcare centre, viewed from the bridge over the canal supply beside Oliver Plunketts GAA Club. New Location for Mullingar Artist BY CLAIRE CORRIGAN Acclaimed Mullingar artist Clare Kelly is now holding her popular classes at a different location after moving from Columb Barracks to The Langton Centre on Austin Friar Street (across the street from Chocolate Brown) where she will deliver classes on Thursday mornings from 11am to 1pm. A number of Clare’s incredible works are currently on display in the back room of Caffrey’s Bar on Mount Street for her exhibition entitled ‘The Phoenix’ which was launched by Donegal artist Clare Kelly during her address on the night of her launch. Anna Marie Leavy, a renowned Irish water colour artist who has exhibited widely in Ireland and around the world, including the UK, USA, Canada and Japan. “You can see that feeling in every single painting and drawing on the wall today. I was mesmerised this morning when I came in to have a private glimpse before the launch tonight. I was just overwhelmed. The painting of James Connolly is incredible and the way she can depict people is unbelievable. Any of you that have photos that you love, get Clare to transform them into art. There is nobody like Clare that I have met in my long life - so enthusiastic and so talented,” she concluded. If you would like to take part you can contact Clare at 0872263423 Laser LEDs also IN STOCK Call into us to see our full range of Christmas Lighting SALE SHOP NOW OPEN