Council neglect of town rebuked

by Gazette Reporter
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Following the introduction of the public realm strategy to Malahide in recent months, councillors in Swords have raised concerns that their town is “not being taken seriously”.
The strategy was launched by Fingal County Council last year, in an effort to improve the future of Malahide.
The public realm strategy will cover all outdoor spaces within the town, including the streets, parks, footpaths, squares, basically any area used by the public.
The initiative will see representatives from the local community joining a steering committee tasked with developing plans for improving the town.
In the nearby town of Swords, however, local councillors were outraged when they learned that Swords was not on the council’s priority list for similar consideration.
According to Cllr Anne Devitt (Ind), Swords’ position as the county town means that it deserves more attention.
“I am furious about the state of Swords. The whole purpose of putting the county town where it is was to balance the Pavilions and the old administrative centre of Swords,” she said at a recent council meeting. “This was going to create footfall and we’ve failed miserably.
“The reason why Malahide has appeared to have got ahead – and I do believe it has got ahead of Swords from a priority point of view – is because everything we were doing was predicated on this green city that was going to emerge with Metro North. The work on the Metro has been deferred, but I am not prepared to watch the work on Swords town being deferred, and that is what has happened,” she added.
Cllr Devitt said she was deeply upset that stores are closing in Swords and despite recent meetings about improving the town, nothing has been done.
“It is not being taken seriously. I can’t understand how management can sit in the town in the state that it is in and not be obliged to do something. I want to see the heart of Swords beating again,” she concluded.
Her views were echoed by Cllr Eugene Coppinger (SP), who described Swords as a town “dying on its feet”.
“It’s not that long ago that we had a post office on Main Street and a supermarket across the road. Something needs to be done and quickly.”
In a report given by the council at the meeting held last week, FCC confirmed that the north Dublin towns included in the Development Plan 2005 -2011 included Rush, Skerries, Malahide, Portmarnock, Howth, Baldoyle, Lusk and Donabate.
County manager David O’Connor said that while Swords has a lot of positives, the councillors were right. “We do need a big shake up in Swords,” he agreed.

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