24 Sept 2022

Plan to honour Portarlington and Graiguecullen men caught in Laois council contradiction

portarlington graiguecullen portlaoise laois

Laois County Council had no policy in place to permit the naming of roundabouts in Portlaoise in August or a road in Graiguecullen but it says it cannot name other roads in Port and Graigue

Laois County Council is naming roads and roundabouts around Laois in the honour of some Laois people, but it is refusing to allow other roads to be named because it claims there is no policy in place.

The apparent contradiction emerged officially at the recent Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting where two councillors proposed that roads could be named in honour of people who have made big contributions in both towns.

A long campaign has been running in Graiguecullen to name a road after the late Fr John Fingleton

A new campaign has started in Portarlington to name a road in honour of the late Niall McElwaine.

Cllr Ben Brennan spotted the anomaly when informed that new signs for the William Dargan Road been installed on the Northern Relief Road in Graiguecullen.

He asked, “Does that mean now that we can put up the Fr John Fingleton sign at the other end”?

Cllr Brennan complained, “This has been going on for long enough now. We need to put up that sign now.”

He wants the extension to the Northern Relief Road to be named after Fr Fingleton who, he said, had contributed significantly to the parish.

The reason given by the council emerged when Cllr Aidan Mullins asked if the council could outline and commence the process of naming the access road around the Portarlington Leisure Centre in Portarlington after the late Niall McElwaine.

Mr Aidan Barrett, Senior Engineer, in the roads section replied in writing.

“At present there is no adopted policy for the naming of infrastructure in Laois. The process of preparing a policy on the naming of infrastructure for presentation to the Roads and Environment SPC for consideration has commenced. It is expected that this will progress to full council for adoption by the end of Q2 2021,” he said.

Cllr Mullins queried the contradiction.

“How have we infrastructure that is named even though there is no policy. We see it with roundabouts in particular,” he said.

While he welcomed preparation of a policy he asked how it would be applied if a councillor makes a proposal to name a street.

He asked: “Does it just go before the municipal district meeting or before a full council meeting.”

He wanted to know what the criteria was. He said Mr McElwaine was known very well in Portarlington and around Laois. A teacher, he was part of the Civil Defence, Community Games, the swimming pool/now Leisure Centre. He was also involved with the Meals on Wheels and Lions Club.

Frustrated at having to wait until 2021 for a policy, Cllr Brennan said the proposal to name part of the Graigue road after Fr Fingleton has been “going on for years.”

Cllr Mullins said a policy could be written in a week, not nine months.

Cllr Aisling Moran proposed that the municipal district be responsible.

Cllr Paschal McEvoy proposed that the issue be put before the next Laois County Council meeting.

Cllr Padraig Fleming backed that proposal. He said the policy need not be complicated.

Laois County Council’s Director of Finance, Gerry Murphy committed to contact the engineers to advance the matter.

During the summer Laois County Council named a number of roundabouts in honour of local families in the absence of a policy.


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