No apologies for Dirty Old Towns

A DEMAND that two Portarlington councillors apologise for ‘despicable’ comments on Arlington House will not be met by the politicans involved.

A DEMAND that two Portarlington councillors apologise for ‘despicable’ comments on Arlington House will not be met by the politicans involved.

The Dirty Old Towns committee say they were left “amazed, baffled and deeply upset” and have demanded a public apology from Cllr Ray Cribbin and Cllr Tom Mulhall. However, both councillors have told the Leinster Express they see no need.

Cllr Cribbin recently referred to the work done on the derelict Frenchchurch Street building as “only a camouflage job”, while Cllr Tom Mulhall said it was akin to “washing your face, but not behind your ears”, adding that Laois County Council deserved some of the credit for the recent improvements to the town.

The comments provoked strong reactions from the Dirty Old Towns committee and local people. Committee chairperson Margaret Foster has now demanded an apology on their behalf.

“We feel Cllrs Cribbin and Mulhall’s comments were disingenuous to all the volunteers and committee members who worked on the various projects and we ask for a public apology. To say that the committee and the people of Portarlington feel let down is an understatement. I’d like to ask what’s wrong with a camouflage job? This building has been the biggest eyesore in the town for more years than any of us can remember and it took our committee with support of RTE to tackle this run down building.

“How can any citizen have anything other than praise for the trojan work that was undertaken? The photographs before and after speak for themselves. €50,000 worth of work at a cost of €2,800 is simply unbelievable and achieved by the work of volunteers and donations of materials by local companies.

“This project was without doubt the biggest and most complicated of all the wonderful work that was carried out by this committee and to have our local representatives almost ridicule it, is despicable,” she said, also thanking Laois and Offaly county councils, and Cllr Paul Mitchell for their help.

Auctioneer Matt Dunne managed the Arlington project.

“I do find it unbelievable that two experienced councillors one of them in office for thirty years would say such a thing about a local voluntary group especially with elections just around the corner in the next couple of years. Surely they should be encouraging such activity” he said.

Cllr Cribbin says the committee are being childish.

“I appreciate all the work that was done, they did a good job and good luck to them. Taking offence to that comment is being a bit childish,” he said.

Cllr Mulhall stood by his comments.

“My views are clear. There is no need to apologise, I appreciate what they have done, improving the old buildings, but work was only done on the front of Arlington House, it has added to the appearance of the street. The DOT committee say they have not gone away, so maybe they will do more at the back,” he said.

The Emo cllr says he and Cllr Cribbin work hard for Port.

“We worked terribly hard on planning issues for taking down the apartment block on Station Road. At the start of filming the contractor was already booked and it was only a matter of days before it came down. Not only that but the council cleaned up the entrance to Corrig Glen.

“I know DOT did great things for Port but the council definitely did support them with work, materials and money. I don’t think that we should be made scapegoats, all cllrs are working for the good of Port, and will continue to do so for the next two years and beyond,” he said.