By Cllr. Stephen McKee
New Bettystown – Laytown ‘Tara Road’ Opens
It’s brilliant that the long-awaited Spine Road in Bettystown has now finally opened. The road is pedestrian and cycle friendly and the scheme includes car parking adjacent to the Parochial Hall and Scoil Oilibhéir Naofa Junior Primary School in Laytown.
The Link Road is a crucial piece of infrastructure for the area and is long overdue. Road safety is a huge concern to parents of children attending the local schools and the situation up to now has been neither acceptable nor sustainable. This is really good news for the area to have this project finally completed.
Following a recent public poll by Meath County Council, ‘Tara Road’ was the suggested name that received most votes, and so the road will now be formally named ‘Tara Road’ in reference to the Tara Brooch which was found in Bettystown in 1850.
It has taken a huge collective effort by all current and former local TD’s, Councillors, Government Departments, Meath County Council staff, and members of the public for this project to be delivered. I supported and lobbied for the construction of the ‘Spine Road’ since first elected in 2014, though I recognise that without the team effort on the part of so many, there is no doubt the road would never have been built. Well done to everyone involved.
Capital Investment Programme 2021 – 2024 : New Community Centre For East Meath
I am delighted to announce that under the Council’s Capital Investment Programme 2021-2024, over €1.4 million euro has been allocated to provide for a new Community Centre for the coastal area. This is badly needed. As we all know, there is a serious lack of public amenities and community infrastructure in the area to serve the existing and future local population. I am in talks with the Council regarding a suitable location and this is a very promising project. I continue working on the provision of a playground on Council-owned land beyond Glen Boann housing estate in Donacarney. I am hopeful that with the support of the public, this project can be prioritised and progressed too as a new playground is needed in the Donacarney/Mornington Area.
Capital Investment Programme 2021 – 2024 : Julianstown Traffic Management Scheme
Meath County Council have given a commitment of €800,000 funding towards the Julianstown Traffic Calming Scheme under the new Capital Investment Programme 2021-2024 published by Meath County Council. The scheme aims to address traffic and road safety issues through Julianstown and improve the local environment for residents.
The proposed Traffic Calming Scheme involves traffic calming of the main road through Julianstown through widening of footpaths, narrowing the carriageway, reduction of junction diameters and improving bus stops and pedestrian crossings. I am disappointed however that traffic lights at both the Duleek and Laytown junctions which I had been calling for on behalf of residents, have not been included.
The Traffic-Calming Scheme will be submitted to An Bord Pleanala and local residents will be able to have a say as part of this planning process. I will be making my own detailed submission on behalf of local residents so residents can get in touch with me to discuss any points or issues they would like to raise.
Meeting With Broadband Officer To Highlight Broadband Issues In East Meath
At my request, Cormac McCann, Broadband Officer for County Meath, attended our most recent local area Council meeting to address issues around broadband provision affecting residents in East Meath. Many residents, particularly in newer housing developments, are in regular contact with me saying that they don’t have broadband provision and are waiting months-on-end and longer in some cases. This is simply not good enough.
Despite ongoing efforts to require developers to provide broadband connections at the same time as connecting the ESB, it seems that Open Eir are very slow in many cases in delivering fibre broadband into new developments. We need to ensure that the process is speeded up. Cormac McCann agreed to relay my concerns and promised that Meath County Council would continue to do all they can to ensure a quicker delivery of broadband services for residents.
With many residents now working remotely, delivering effective broadband has never been more important both in urban and rural areas. We also need to look at how we can use facilities in the community as remote working hubs. As part of the new Library & Community building for Bettystown, I have proposed that a business hub be included in the plans for the building. Such facilities have the potential to not only be places for community use but also as a base for local people in business who wish to avail of broadband, meet like-minded individuals and share ideas and support one another.
Safe Routes To School Programme – Donacarney / Footpath
I’m pleased that Donacarney Boys & Girls National Schools have been included in the first round of funding as part of this scheme to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the numbers of students who walk or cycle to school by providing walking and cycling facilities. Precise details of the works to be undertaken outside Donacarney National Schools will be determined after a detailed assessment has been carried out by Meath County Council. I am in contact with the Council regarding the needs in Donacarney, including the need for work on the footpath from the school to Bettystown Cross to start as soon as possible, so I expect to see action on this very soon.
New 30 Km/Hr Speed Limit And Signage In East Meath
I am pleased to inform residents that the following housing estates have been included by Meath County Council for a bye-law that will put a special speed limit of 30 Km/hr along the avenues. Signage will be put up letting drivers know of the new speed limit. The new reduced speed limit should come into effect in the next few months.
- Fairways Park, Mornington
- Fairways Lawns, Mornington
- Brabazon, Bettystown
I hope the new speed limit and signage will make a difference to help improve road safety, particularly for children.
Footpath/Cycleway From Woodgrange To Colpe
I am very pleased that work on the new footpath and cycleway from the entrance of Woodgrange up to Colpe has now been successfully completed. This is another local project that I worked hard on to deliver for residents. This means that Woodgrange residents can safely access Southgate Shopping Centre by footpath.
Bus Shelters On The Dublin Road & In Mornington
It has been confirmed to me by the National Transport Authority that new bus shelters opposite Coney Hall, Mornington and on the Dublin Road outside Deepforde will be in place by the end of the Summer. Local residents need to be able to access high quality public transport services with the required infrastructure. I will continue working on the inclusion of more locations in the area as part of the bus shelter rollout programme.
Beach Access For All Should Be The Key Priority For Meath County Council
I have demanded that Meath County Council ensure that Bettystown and Laytown beaches are fully accessible to all this Summer including for those with disabilities and special needs.
I am pleased that our local beaches will remain largely car-free over the Summer months but we need to do a lot more to ensure that those who need to access the beach by car, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, can safely do so.
Those who have a disability and the elderly should be allowed to park on the beach in a properly regulated and safe way and on an appropriately sized section that is managed. The current arrangement is not working and is not adequate to meet those needs. I believe too that there is scope to provide a small well-managed and regulated family-parking area on the beach while we wait for further off-beach parking to become available.
There is also the question of facilitating those with intellectual disabilities whose families do not qualify for the blue parking badge. I know of families with children with Special Needs who feel excluded from the beach and this is unfair and needs to be addressed. They deserve full access to the beach.
While every effort needs to be made to provide more parking in Bettystown and at Mornington, signage needs to be vastly improved to inform visitors where they can currently park, such as at Funtasia. We need to do all we can to encourage people to visit our beautiful beaches and support the local economy as it tries to get back on its feet. That is why providing access for all should be our key priority this Summer.
Civic Reception For Meath Ladies Senior Gaelic Football Team
I was delighted to successfully table a motion at July’s full Council Meeting to recognise the achievements of the Meath Senior Ladies GAA team with a formal Civic Reception. The motion passed and Meath County Council will now proceed to organise a suitable reception once health guidelines allow.
Our Senior Ladies Gaelic Football Team will now be formally recognised for their achievements in winning the All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Final last December and in winning the Division 2 title recently.
The team won the Intermediate All-Ireland Final last December but due to the huge rise in Covid cases after Christmas and further lockdown, it was unfortunate in the circumstances that the team did not receive the full recognition they deserved. I am pleased that the players and management team will now get that recognition from the County.
There is no doubt though, that all the players and management team deserve a formal Civic Reception when health guidelines allow as they have done the County proud.
The players are an inspiration to our young people, particularly for young girls across the County as we continue to see huge numbers of girls playing Gaelic football which is fantastic to see.
Caption for photo: Cllr Stephen McKee alongside Meath Ladies County Players Orla & Kate Byrne and Monica McGuirk. Also in the photo, Karen Dunne of the Glenside Hotel, Drogheda, County Meath (photo taken Pre-Covid)
Jimmy Cudden RIP
Jimmy Cudden was highly respected in Duleek and East Meath where he served with distinction as a Councillor for many years. On a personal level, he was always very helpful and supportive and gave me sound advice when I first started out in politics. He always had time for a chat. Jimmy will be sorely missed in the community. My thoughts and prayers are with Nan & all the family at this sad time.
You can call, text or WhatsApp me directly on 086 0432760 or should you prefer, email me at email@example.com or through Facebook at Cllr Stephen McKee. I am able to provide all state documents/applications via email and WhatsApp. Take care, Stephen.