“YOU were a great fella back then but not now,” jibed Cllr Tom Mulhall to his Fine Gael colleague Cllr James Deegan at Friday’s Emo electoral area meeting.
During a discussion where it emerged there is no money available for the provision of new lighting, Cllr Mulhall said he’d like to see funding made available, to which Cllr Deegan responded: “We brought them around in the boots of our car once upon a time!”
And when Cllr Deegan highlighted that it was the councillors ‘in their wisdom’ who decided at their estimates meeting not to allocate money for footpaths or lighting by saying: “I’m surprised that councillors keep on asking for these things when we at our budget meeting made decisions and now we look to reverse decisions in times of scarce resources.”
Cllr Mulhall replied: “You were the one talking about going around with lights in the boot of the car. You were a great fella back then but not now.”
Cllr Deegan hit back: “We made the decision at our estimates. If you don’t have money you can’t do anything.”
The exchange arose as a motion tabled by Cathaoirleach Paul Mitchell called for lighting to be erected at the rear entrance to the girls primary school leading into St Brigid’s Square, Portarlington.
Senior Executive Engineer Orla Barrett explained that no funding was available and she suggested the school was repsonsible for its own security and the majority of pupils wouldn’t be leaving the school in darkness.
Cllr Mitchell said the situation was dangerous since there is no lighting and he asked if the Council could liaise with the school Board of Management? “There is a lot of anti-social behaviour in that area and the residents feel lighting might be a deterrent.”
Cllr Mulhall said lighting is an issue not just for schools.
“Maybe we wasted money on lights previously. I’d like to see funding come back for public lighting. There are dark corners and crossroads poorly lit and we can’t get to them because we’ve no funds.”
Ms Barrett told the councillors she ‘begged them’ for funding for footpaths at their estimates meeting.
“There is no need to light most crossroads but we all walk over footpaths. We can’t provide new footpaths but we must prioritise the repair of existing ones,” he said.