Constituency Commission recommendations must be implemented before a General Election is called – Feeley

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A snap general election should not be allowed disenfranchise the people of West Cavan again,” so says Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley.
Recent speculation of a general election either immediately before Christmas are in the early part of 2018 makes the implementation of the recommendations of the Constituencies Commission to reunite County Cavan as part of a new five seat constituency all the more urgent as far as people in West Cavan are concerned.
“In recent days it seems that we are heading closer to a General Election. I am concerned that West Cavan remains in a constituency which the Constituency Commission has recommended should be changed as the number of voters in that constituency does not tally with the number of seats assigned to it in Dáil Ėireann. The constituency of Sligo/Leitrim which encompasses parts of County Donegal and Cavan is therefore effectively unconstitutional and the rights of the citizens in that constituency have not been vindicated as a result of the failure of the Oireachtas to bring forward legislation required to implement the recommendations of the Constituency Commission.”
‘During the 2016 general election many people told me on the doorsteps that they would vote in this constituency once and once only because they felt it was undemocratic and unfair to them to take them from their natural hinterland and placed them in a constituency with all are part of three other counties. Many people did not vote at all in the previous constituency and the concerns of the people of West Cavan and indeed all of County Cavan were clearly set out in the numerous submissions made by statutory agencies such as Cavan County Council and also by ordinary citizens and their local community groups who demanded that they be returned to Cavan Monaghan constituency. Those concerns were accepted entirely by the Constituency Commission yet, for whatever reason the political parties in Dáil Ėireann have not moved to give the people of this county and in particular people in West Cavan their democratic right.”
“I call on all political parties but in particular the Minister for Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, TD and the Government Chief Whip, Joe McHugh, TD to ensure that the necessary legislation is brought before the House of the Oireachtas without further delay. Given the current political instability this legislation should be moved and implemented this week. I have written to the Government Chief Whip and to the Whip of the Fianna Fáil party in this regard.”

‘Town and Village Revitalisation Plans to provide a framework for future investment’ – Feeley

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Fianna Fáil County Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed the awarding of a tender by Cavan County Council for the preparation of Town and Village Revitalisation Plans for 20 towns and villages across County Cavan by early 2018.

“Town and Village Revitalisation Plans will allow communities, working in conjunction with Cavan County Council and Gaffney and Cullivan architects who together with Tyrénes have been awarded the tender to set out a vision for the development of towns and villages throughout our county over the coming years. This would provide a useful framework for communities, the local authority and other state agencies in targeting resources over the coming years.”

The tender recently awarded to Cavan-based architecture firm, Gaffney and Cullivan who have also engaged the expertise of UK company, Tyrénes seek to provide the basis of schemes which can be carried out as funds arise in each of the towns and villages included as well as providing a uniform approach and overarching vision for the revitalisation of towns and villages throughout the county and their hinterlands.

“The recent allocation of funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme has highlighted the need to have projects set out and agreed between local communities and the County Council so that as and when funds arise money can be spent without delay and the projects chosen will have been considered and deemed necessary and appropriate by the local communities rather than having to search around for projects in order to drawdown funding.”

Over the coming weeks consultation meetings have been organised in six locations throughout the county which together with an online survey will allow community groups and individuals to make suggestions to the County Council and to the architects involved. It is intended that the public consultation will conclude in mid-December with a view to having the plans completed by May 2018.

“Unfortunately there will not be funds available immediately to implement each element of the plan prepared for the respective towns and villages but these will provide a considered menu of projects which can be undertaken as and when funds arise. We are all aware of the pressure that towns and villages in rural areas have faced and the decline in many of these communities. Hopefully this and other measures will provide a catalyst for improvements throughout our county.’

The individual plans will provide a foundation for a review of the County development plan in mid-2018. Cost of the project will be €160,000 which works out at approximately €8000 per plan per town.

The Towns and Villages included are Cavan, Virginia, Bailieborough, Ballyjamesduff, Cootehill, Kingscourt, Belturbet, Mullagh, Ballyconnell, Ballinagh, Ballyhaise, Shercock, Killeshandra, Arva, Kilnaleck, Swanlinbar, Butlersbridge, Blacklion, Lough Gowna and Dowra.

Government finally see need for dedicated Local Improvement Scheme – Feeley

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Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed the decision of Minister Michael Ring to re-introduce the Local Improvement Scheme for the first time since 2011 reversing the previous decision of Fine Gael to effectively abolished it when they stopped making any allocation to local authorities to carry out work on lanes.
‘The letter sent to Chief Executives of County Councils throughout the country on the 24th August 2017 indicates that the Minister intends to make an allocation to Councils this year. It demands a response from Council by the 14th September setting out details of roads which could be completed, that there is a local contribution in place and that the work can be completed by the end of 2017. Whilst the restoration of the Scheme is welcome, the turn around time on the letter is a very clear indication that the Minister and his Department are somewhat out of touch with reality given that the opportunity to carry out work on roads in the autumn and winter is minimal. An announcement such as this should be made in the early part of the year to allow for proper planning by the local authority and the completion of quality work’
‘We have argued for the re-introductions of the Local Improvement Scheme for the last number of years. Consistently, the Fine Gael Councillors have defended the removal of funding and sought to divert funding from the already deteriorating local and regional roads. At least this circular from the Department lays bear any semblance of credibility that the Fine Gael Councillors have on this matter. Deputy Brendan Smith and Eamon O Cuiv have fought this in the Dail since the last election very strongly. I hope that the Government will now ensure that the Scheme is in place each year into the future.’
‘There are about two hundred applications on hand in Cavan as it stands, many others have held off lodging applications given the failure of the Government to provide funding. A consistent level of funding is needed into the future for the LIS

Feeley welcomes Reunification of County Cavan for Dáil Elections

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Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has warmly welcomed the recommendation of the Constituencies Commission to reunite County Cavan in future elections to Dail Eireann. This follows a long-running campaign by the people of County Cavan seeking the reunification of the county in national elections.
“I warmly welcomed the decision of the Constituencies Commission and want to thank its Chairman, Judge Robert Haughton and his colleagues for listening to the thousands of submissions made by people and organisations in County Cavan to have our county reunited for the Dáil Elections. The travesty, that was the division of County Cavan, particularly taking away the most disadvantaged and already disenfranchised part of the county and putting it into a constituency along with Sligo, Leitrim and part of Donegal areas with which many people felt little in common has at long last been reversed. I trust that the Oireachtas will now do their duty and implement the recommendations of this Commission as a matter of urgency and ensure that the results of Census 2016 are the basis for future Dáil Elections.’
‘Given the current political uncertainties, and the likelihood of an early general election it is incumbent on the relevant Minister, Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to bring forward the legislation without further delay.”
“I want to thank the many people who took time to make submissions to the Constituencies Commission and indeed the many organisations who did so also. This was not a party political issue it was about the overall good of the county and all its parts. I wish to thank in particular Brendan Smith TD who spearheaded a campaign which secured almost 5,000 signatures on a petition from throughout the County and also the role of the *Anglo Celt* who with his editor Linda O’Reilly played a pivotal role in this campaign ensuring that it was seen for what it was, a cross-party campaign to ensure justice for County Cavan in Dáil elections.”
“As a councillor, I wish to acknowledge the work of Eoin Doyle, Director of Services and in particular, Dr. Emer Coveney in assisting the elected members in preparing a detailed and comprehensive submission agreed on a cross-party basis setting out the case for the reunification of our county.”
“This is a great day for our county, I know from a Party point of view and indeed from the part of the community in which I live people are delighted that they will now be in a position to vote for people to represent them in Dáil Éireann whom they know, with whom they have worked and who have worked on their behalf in the past and in the case of Deputy Brendan Smith even after West Cavan had been removed from Cavan Monaghan constituency.”