Public meeting is called over Castlerea site row

Enterprise Castlerea will host a public meeting to discuss the controversial  decision by Roscommon County Council to site a recycling centre in the Demesne in the town. The meeting will be held in St. Kevin’s GAA Centre, on Thursday, November 15th at 9 pm. In recent weeks the issue has been a hot topic in the town and the proposal to site the recycling centre in Castlerea Business Park in the Demesne was only carried following contentious debate at a recent meeting of Roscommon County Council. Those who are objecting to site choice for the centre maintain that it would be an unsuitable facility to have at the location in question, partly because of proximity to existing businesses but also amid fears that it might diminish the chances of securing new businesses for the business park and jeopardise the viability of constructing the enterprise units.  This week Benny O’Connell of Enterprise Castlerea responded to statements by Cllr. Michael McGreal in last week’s Roscommon People. He acknowledged that technically Cllr. McGreal was right in stating that he met with members of Enterprise Castlerea before the contentious vote at the council meeting, but added that the councillor failed to attend a meeting the previous week between Enterprise Castlerea and local political representatives. ‘He is saying that he met us prior to this [vote]. Technically he did because he was part of a delegation of Fine Gael councillors that met us on the morning of the meeting. What I was complaining about was that Enterprise Castlerea organised a meeting with councillors and TDs on the Thursday prior to the meeting and Cllr. McGreal was written to and phoned but never appeared. ‘I just want to set the record straight on that and want to reiterate our support for a recycling centre in Castlerea. We just feel that it is the wrong place because this is prime industrial land and we feel it will put off other potential businesses coming to that area. We have sanction from Enterprise Ireland for a grant for the building of enterprise units beside this proposed centre and that’s in serious doubt now, with a facility that is going to employ just two people.’ Responding, Cllr. McGreal said that he did send an apology to the meeting through Deputy Frank Feighan, as he had a previous engagement. Secondly, he also pointed out that he spent at least half an hour in discussion with the delegation on the Monday morning of the council meeting.  Meanwhile Cllr. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who opposes the site choice, made a hard-hitting attack on Fine Gael Deputy Frank Feighan.    ‘Deputy Feighan has rather conveniently for himself gone very quiet on the issue relating to the siting of the proposed recycling centre in Castlerea. He has in my opinion seriously let down the people of Castlerea on this issue. On the Thursday before the Council made its decision Deputy Feighan met with Enterprise Castlerea to discuss the matter. Also at that meeting was deputy Michael Finneran and Cllr. Tony Waldron. The purpose of the meeting was to establish what level of support was out there among the respective Councillors on the issue. It was put to Deputy Feighan in no uncertain terms that there was serious concerns about putting the centre down the Demesne and that one of two other proposed sites would have been more suitable. While Deputy Feighan did say he could not tell his Fine Gael councillors how to vote, he most definitely gave everyone at that meeting the impression, on numerous occasions, that there was nothing to worry about and that the recycling centre would not be sited in the Demesne.’    ‘I am sure Deputy Feighan will say that he is not a member of Roscommon County Council and that it had nothing to do with him. Well if that is the case, can Deputy Feighan keep his nose out of Council business in the future. It seems to me that he claims to have an influence in the council when it suits him, yet when it’s inconvenient for him he claims it has nothing to do with him. He can’t have it both ways.’