Lack Of Funds Hinder Development In Youghal

By Seamus Whelehan


Youghal has lost out on thousands of Euro of extra funding that could have benefited the enhancement of the town centre and boosted tourism.
East Cork Municipality Chairwoman Mary Linehan Foley said development in Youghal “will grind to a halt” this year.
The Independent Councillor made the claim after she lost a Municipality vote on an amendment on the distribution of the boroughs €120,000 Town Development fund.
The discretional grant is designed to, enhance infrastructure, economic development and aid community organisations in both Midleton and Youghal.
Following a series of in committee, closed door meetings, Councillor Susan McCarthy had requested an increase in the contribution given to Midleton Town this year.
The Cllrs who met in private earlier this month had agreed in principal, €102,500 would go to Youghal, €50,000 of the package was to be ring-fenced for improvement works to Youghal’s Jail house steps, Barry’s lane, Kent Street and Market Dock.
The remaining €17,500 was to be spent in Midleton, however the Midleton and Area Chamber of Commerce had lobbied the Cllrs requesting “Midleton town be sufficiently recognised in this year’s allocation.”
For the past two years Youghal had received the lion’s share of the fund. In 2015 the entire grant was spent in the harbour town and last year they received €111,000.
The redistribution of public realm money followed a motion tabled by Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy requesting parity between both towns.
Cllr McCarthy had been calling for investment of €20,000 to carry out works in Connolly Street including repair and upgrade of footpaths, build outs, rubbish bins and improvements to road markings in order to alleviate traffic congestion during peak hours.
The Midleton based Cllr received the backing of Independent Cllr Noel Collins and Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey. Fine Gael Cllr Michael Hegarty abstained and Cllr Aaron O’Sullivan was not present to vote.
A shocked Cllr Linehan Foley said the allocation to Midleton was “a bitter pill to swallow.”
“To think that a chamber or any business would deprive Youghal €20,000 that’s badly needed to progress their public realm, knowing Midleton has €2million in the coffers for their own public realm.”
She added “there are no businesses in Youghal. We have fifty percent vacancy on the Main Street, Midleton doesn’t have this.”
Cllr Hegarty said he had abstained from voting as he was not entirely certain there was €2million set aside for Midleton and requested official documentation.
“With the disbandment of the councils and new Municipal Districts set up all assets and liabilities transferred to the County Council from the various Municipal districts that’s why I need written clarity” he said.
While Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey said the Municipality Chairwoman’s outrage was over the top.
“We need to bear in mind one hundred percent of the [Town Development] fund went to Youghal for the past two years. Where we understand it is needed we also have to be fair to Midleton and our constituents there.”
She said “€10,000 of Youghal’s allocation is to be spent on marketing the Clock Gate when funding could be sourced from other avenues.”
The Sinn Fein Cllr concluded Youghal’s public realm project could go ahead if rejigging of their allocation was to take place.