Speaking today after a briefing on the Athlone Boundary Review for local Oireachtas members Michael Fitzmaurice has given a cautious welcome to the news that there is no recommendation to change.
“While I welcome the fact that the status of Roscommon will not change as a result of the Athlone Boundary Commission Report published today there are conditions and changes in the report that may be a threat to the county’s status in the future and people should be very aware that this issue is not fully over with yet.”
The Independent TD continued “There is no doubt that the decision not to alter the actual boundaries is a victory for people power and the massive campaign that was launched in County Roscommon against the proposals and I congratulate everyone concerned with that campaign.
“proposals are not fully shelved”
But there are several elements in this report that would seem to indicate that the proposals are not fully shelved and may have just been ‘kicked down the road’ a bit. There are various strategies that are recommended between both Roscommon and Westmeath with regard to increased co-operation including a retail strategy, a full analysis for co-operation options, and a proposed merging of services which would include the HSE, IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other state and semi-state bodies. These various strategies have various time limits set for them from 9 months to 24 months
Michael Fitzmaurice concluded by saying “Once again I welcome today’s news that there will be no change to the boundaries but there is only one way that this issue will be put to bed for once and for all and that is for the Minister to come out and say that the proposal for any change of boundary is over once and for all and it will not be revisited”.