The local and european elections on May 23rd have the candidates and their supporters out knocking on doors looking for votes to allow them the privilage of representing us at local and international levels for the next few years. Your vote is important and should not be given away lightly or left unused. When they come calling let them know what issues concern you. Let them know your views and ask them what they intend to do in practical terms if elected.
Oddly enough several candidates that have come to my door asking what I was concerned about suddenly remembered that they had to be busy with other things when invited to come in and discuss them in detail. A hint to such candidates; this makes you seem insincere and you will now have to work twice as hard to convince me that I should give you my vote.
If it is true that “all politics is local” then issues that will concern Salthill residents may include some of the following:
It has been badly damaged by the winter storms and the swimming pool may be closed until near the end of the year according to some reports. Some politicians are saying it should be rebuilt somewhere else because it is likely to suffer the same type of damage again in the future. But it brings a lot of business into Salthill and the wider Galway area. Are the businesses that benefit financially prepared to contribute towards getting it back in action as soon as practical?
The repair work is expensive and there is a dispute between the City Council and the Insurers about how much of the damage should be covered by the insurance company. This should not allow the reopening of the pool and surrounding amenities to be delayed. When a candidate comes knocking on your door where do they stand on the issue. Knock it down or get it back in action.
The centre of Salthill is blighted by a block of derelict buildings at the Warick Hotel, the Oasis, the former little shop An Bearna, adjoining private houses. This should not be allowed anywhere, but one would expect that in an area so dependent on tourism that extra care and attention would be taken of the visual amenity of the locality.
Further along the road the former Kenny’s art gallary is also in a disgraceful condition.
The jinxed development at the Baily Building has plaster falling off the walls, and the ground floor has never been other than boarded up.
The adjoining Burrenmount is another eyesore.
I understood that local authorities had the power to force property owners to keep their property from becoming dilapidated like this, so why have these buildings been in such condition for several years?
Proliferation of Posters
There are laws governing the use of posters for elections. I hope they are enforced. Some politicians have in effect bypassed these laws by advertising public meetings but the real objective is to have a big image of their face on publlic display (in effect election posters) before they are legally allowed to do so. Newsflash! This is pulling strokes. And what is the prevailing view on “stroke politics”? Should there be a ban or at least restrictions on where posters can be put up?
There are also anti-litter laws dealing with the erection of posters for other purposes. Along the Prom in particular, there are posters on most lamp posts for one thing or another. This is a source of visual pollution that degrades the area. One may have great sympathy for the causes advertised (many are for charitable events), but they are breaking the law non-the-less. At the very least one would expect the posters to be removed as soon as the event is over. Some posters are up for several months. If they are not taken down prosecutions should follow.
Maybe the Prom and other areas should be made poster free zones.
The only think that seems to change on this issue is that the kids drinking get younger. The worst nights are when the alcohol free discos take place in Leisureland. The events themselfs may be well managed and controlled within the hall but huge numbers of kids converge on Salthill with drink from somewhere. They congregate and drink in the shadow of the Garda barracks and the gardaí seem powerless to take action.
We do not want it closed or down-graded. People feel that there is already insufficient garda resources as things stand. Many petty crimes go unreported simply because people think they will not be followed up on.
Failure to Penalise for Breaches of Planning Laws
Failure to adequately deal with and prosecute repeated breaches of the law by certain parties brings the authority of the City Council and its planning office into disrepute, and alienates the public.
Traffic issues are ongoing. The planning application for floodlights to facilitate night time activities in a residential area is opposed by the residents. A number of warning lettetrs are outstanding and no genuine enforcement action seems to be taken by the local authority. How come planning applications in which false information is supplied are not rejected out of hand?
Dangerous condition of Footpaths
The footpaths are cracked and broken, and of uneven height in different places.
Money is spent on materials and sending out crews, diggers, trucks etc to put up stop signs in cul-de-sacs where it is patentently obvious what the flow of traffic is, but the footpaths into which the signs are placed remain unrepaired. The government has announced that 15 million euro is to be made available to fix up less than 1,000 housing units. How can it cost an average of over 150,000 euro per housing unit when most if not all are already build. No site purchase costs as already in local authority ownership. Not building from scratch, just retrofitting. Explain it please.
Keeping Promise and Honouring Commitments
Councillors seem to end up as board and committee members with lots of different groups. When officials of different groups make promises to local residents (or anyone else) on behalf of the group the promise does not die when the official no longer holds the office. Promises and agreements are not something you make to get your way on something now and then ignore later when it no longer suits you.