Wednesday, January 2, 2008

on passing by- again

What exactly is one supposed to make of the road work intentions of both Kildare and Wicklow county councils. The main street in Blessington is in a state of serious upheaval for the last few months. There would appear to be at least three separate sets of roadworks, none of which seem to be coming anywhere close to each other or to completion. The road now has at least four different levels, all joined by ramps of varying angles and smoothness. The workers appear to start at seven in the morning and continue for the day and still we seem to be no nearer the completion of whatever the plan is. The National Roads Authority are able to spend millions of euro fixing problems on the Red Cow roundabout, problems which were pointed out at the very start of the project and ignored, yet they seem quite happy to let a national primary route like the N81 go to rack and ruin despite the hardships this causes for local people and visitors.
The road coming out of Naas has been reduced to one lane now for months, with traffic lights to compound the delays. There appears to be enough space to allow two lanes of traffic yet only one lane has been provided. There appears to be no activity on the road surface and all the work seems to be geared towards the house building. If ordinary motorists are being held up like this to allow private companies build houses there is definitely something weird going on .
Some time ago the road was closed from Punchestown for a week. A fine new surface duly appeared and is much appreciated but why did they stop where they did?. Surely the section of road along the side of the school is as dangerous as anything that was resurfaced and yet nothing has been done to improve it. Do we need a serious accident before we get any attention. Enquiries to Kildare County Council have met their usual fate i.e. they have been totally ignored. Perhaps Billy Hillis could throw some light on the matter?.

While we are on the subject of Kildare County Council what exactly is the situation with the Community Liaison Committee. This you will remember was set up to disburse the monies from the KTK levy and consists of councillors, members of the county council and local representatives. A meeting was held in the resource centre in early June at which some projects were moved on to the next phase and a date was set for the next meeting in September. As has happened with previous meetings I expected the council to contact all before the meeting to confirm the date and time and give the minutes of the last meeting. We are now well into October and not a dicky bird. I have sent enquiries to the council, as have others, but we seem to be back to the great wall of silence.
Isn’t local democracy a great yoke altogether.

I have to admit to having had serious reservations about the Green Party going into Government. I was at a loss to see how they could exert any real influence and expected them to be quickly subsumed into Fianna Fail. Some of the brighter points appeared to be the appointment of John Gormley as Minister for the Environment, replacing our old friend Desperate Dick, and the appointment of Eamon Ryan as Energy Minister.

Now to digress slightly. In 2002 the Government set up Sustainable Energy Ireland as the country’s national energy agency. Its remit is to promote and
assist the development of sustainable energy and help to get renewable sources of energy more widely used. In order to assist people to install what can be costly technologies SEI initiated a Green Homes Scheme which offers people grants towards the installation of heat pumps, solar panels, wood pellet boilers etc, the cost of the grant being borne by both the Government and the European Union. Due to peoples concerns about rising energy prices, fossil fuel depletion and a generally more enlightened attitude towards the environment there has been a significant uptake of these grants.
So now that the Government has people moving in the right direction, despite the rising cost of these new technologies, what do they do?. They decide in their infinite wisdom to cut the amount of the grant, by up to thirty per cent in some cases.
So we now have a situation where both the Ministers for Environment and Energy are part of a Government which is presiding over what will undoubtedly prove to be a disincentive to many people who would otherwise have embraced the new technology. A situation involving two Ministers from the Green Party, whose constitution expressly extols their support for renewable energy and the conservation of natural resources. A situation where the office of either Minister does not reply to queries on the subject.
A situation where people seem to be different shades of green depending on whether they are in power or in opposition. I am beginning to think my reservations were correct.

Some weeks ago I noticed an article in the paper which detailed the appearance of Government chief whip, Tom Kitt, T.D. at the launch of a new product. As an obviously busy man the launch must have been quite important. Some new product which would enhance Irish employment, help to upskill people or help with our public finances. Em, well actually it was to launch a new version of Monopoly.
So the business of Government now has to take second place to the business of a private company. What’s even more annoying was that Kitt was actually only filling in for Bertie Ahern who was busy elsewhere explaining his finances. So in a country which is a supposedly modern, multicultural democracy, one of the richest countries in the world, and yet plagued by problems with the health service, the roads, the tribunals etc. we have a situation where the leader of the Government sees absolutely nothing wrong with launching party games for private companies. Its hard to know who is the worst, them for doing it or us for accepting it.

All for now. Mike Edmonds.


We are in full flow again this term, with around fifty members, old and new; we have closed enrolment for now, but if anyone would like to join, we will be reviewing this after Christmas….

We have held a film night already and are planning a DISCO on Friday 9th November from 8.30pm – 11.00pm in the Resource Centre. The members have elected their own committee now, who will meet with us to discuss equipment, fundraising and trips away amongst other things.

As a group we have revised our Group Contract- here it is:


q We are here to have fun, have a social life & make friends

q We will get here on time & attend regularly

q We will help the leaders to tidy up

q We will respect the Ball Alley & won’t climb on tables/chairs or throw bean bags

q We will respect the leaders & each other which means:
- No fighting
- No alcohol or smoking
- No bullying or racist comments
- No inappropriate cursing or name calling

q Members to remain within the YC room, no outside!

q Three strikes & you’re out!
September 2007

Ballymore Eustace
Community Development Association Ltd

Cois Ceallaigh, 5-10-2007
Ballymore Eustace,
Naas, Co Kildare Ref KTK Community Levy Fund

Fao: Charlie Talbot, Secretary, KCC

Regarding the KTK Community Fund for Ballymore Eustace, since the June meeting, no further information or update has been received by either myself representing the C.D.A. or Mike Edmonds representing the A.B.C.D.

We have had repeated enquiries from community groups who applied for the funding, most of whom say their application form wasn’t acknowledged and they are not aware if their application was successful or not?

I made repeated phonecalls to Cllr Billy Hillis*, George Perry and I spoke to you, Charlie prior to last publication of The Ballymore Bugle – no messages or emails were replied to.

Firstly, it is not unreasonable for applicants to expect some correspondence from KCC/KTK Levy committee – was it the April edition of Bugle in which we ran the information and application form? That’s six months now; at the very least, applicants should have been briefed as to whether their application was passed or rejected. Following that , they should be informed as to the next step in the process ie: valid statements for proposed works from VAT registered companies/tradespersons and community groups should be advised if they have to fundraise or meet certain financial targets before they can expect monies from the KTK Levy Fund.

It is utterly frustrating that there is no information or communication being made available to the community particularly when The Ballymore Bugle is there for Kildare County Council to use, free of charge, and offering a medium which is well read by all the community.

I attach also, a letter received from Mrs Margaret Pearse of the local Historical and Heritage Society. My understanding is that at the June meeting their application to cover cost of producing a photographic history book of Ballymore Eustace was overturned even though Cllr Mary Glennon, Magt McDonald and Kevin Keenan favoured the venture.

At a previous meeting, we had discussed the environmental aspect in the conditions of application and the committee had agreed to be ‘flexible’ on projects advantageous to the community.

I am not a member of the Historical Society but their project is certainly of benefit to ALL parishioners – a photographic collection of life in Ballymore Eustace over the past 100 years, properly catalogued with hundreds of photographs scanned over the past two years. Huge work has gone into the project to date and it is a shame their application was not given more thought. I propose that their application be reviewed at the next meeting of KTK Community Levy Committee, whenever that is.

Our deadline for this month’s Bugle is 5pm on Friday, 12th October. There should be an update, Charlie on aforementioned funding – otherwise the November edition will be full of letters submitted from groups anxious to know what ‘the state of play’ is!

Please advise as to whether local associations/clubs have been contacted; when the next meeting will be and what the next procedure is for groups to secure funding.

Yours sincerely,

Rose Barrett O’ Donoghue 086 895 6097:: email

Resource Centre (Playgroup Building) Funded by the Irish Government and part-financed by the
European Union Structural Funds under the National Development Plan 2000-2006
Directors: R B O Donoghue, P Donnelly, K .Nolan, M McDonald,
F Breslin, M Deegan, Maurice Mason and E Firth

A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in Dublin No 250791. Registered Charity No. 12075

READERS, with regard to the above, I would like to acknowledge that Cllr Billy Hillis was the only person who answered my phone calls over the past month; Billy had hoped to have confirmation date of next KTK Community Levy committee meeting for this edition but as of Thursday 11th, he had not received the information either.
The letter above was acknowledged by Charlie Talbot, Secretary of Kildare County Council on 10th October stating he would “refer this matter to my colleague, George Perry, who is secretary to the liaison committee”.
George Perry is the person I contacted in early September as we had been advised during the summer that our next meeting would be the first week in September; I sent an email, left a voicemail on his direct line, left a message at reception in KCC – no correspondence or voicemail was acknowledged or replied to.
Why are Mike Edmonds and I on the committee? Community Representatives for what? On a Liaison Committee that doesn’t liaise? I really feel like we are just ‘bums to fill seats’ and meet the ‘community’ criteria for a committee that has met twice this year only and was formed over 2 years after the process was agreed.
I would like to add that I find the front of house staff in Kildare County Council’s various departments excellent, whether its planning, VEC or motor enquiries – they are informative and friendly but, as Chairperson of the Community Development Association, I am regularly making written representations to Chief Engineers or ‘heads of departments’ regarding local issues (directing correspondence to the person I was advised to) – and I may as well be doing a Voodoo dance. Readers, you comments please?


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