Boundary change: I’ve got assurances from Minister – Kelly

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has promised that, if the Labour Party form part of the next government, the Roscommon county boundary would not change, Senator John Kelly has said.

  Senator Kelly, a Labour member, threatened last week not to contest the General Election unless he received assurances that the status of Roscommon would not change as a result of the Athlone boundary review.

  On Wednesday, the Ballaghaderreen-based politician said that Minister Kelly, who commissioned the review, gave him such a pledge.

  Senator Kelly said: “Alan Kelly has given me assurances that, if the Labour Party are in the next government, and if any proposal comes before it which suggests a boundary change, the Labour Party would not support it.

  “If this proposal comes before the next government, it quite clearly means that Roscommon County Council are going to lose €2.5 million a year. I have got the full support of the Labour Party to make sure that does not happen.”

  He said that Minister Kelly accepted that there were other ways of enhancing the adminstration of the greater Athlone area without a boundary change.

  “He accepted that there is another way of doing it – two local authorities working hand-in-hand, with an over-arching body create to run Athlone without ever touching out boundaries,” he said. “I am quite happy with that.”

  Senator Kelly said that he would remain a candidate in the General Election as a result of the pledge he received from the Minister.

  The Athlone boundary review, which could see 38 square kilometres of south Roscommon moved into Co. Westmeath, has caused outrage locally.