Longford should be renamed Mullingar because of the countless services the county has lost to the Co Westmeath town, it was claimed this week.
Cllr Eddie Kelly made the statment at a meeting of Granard Town Council last Tuesday evening following recent confirmation that the region’s Rural Transport Network will now be based in Westmeath from now on.
In a blunt and direct attack, Cllr Kelly said the announcement, made last month, capped a sorry past number of months for the county.
“What’s happening with Longford?” Cllr Kelly stormed in a raised voice.
“The VEC has gone to Mullingar, Rural Transport, the court has gone from here (Granard) too.
“We have nothing left in Longford, not a thing.”
The outburst which came towards the latter end of the council’s February monthly meeting culminated in Cllr Kelly recommending a proposed name change for the county.
“We might as well call ourselves Mullingar instead of Longford because we have nothing in it,” he claimed.
Mayor, Cllr Maura Kilbride-Harkin was quick to dismiss the notion.
A member of the rebranded Longford-Westmeath Educational Training Board (ETB), Cllr Kilbride-Harkin said that despite the fact that the ETB’s head office was in Mullingar, the county still retained a sub office.
Cllr Kelly was not convinced and continued his attack by returning to the rural transport issue.
“How come the rural transport (service) that was taken out of Granard has now gone out of Longford too?”
It had been hoped that Co Longford would retain the contract for the organisation of the Longford-Westmeath Rural Transport Service but in the end the contract went to Westmeath.
Cllr Tommy Stokes agreed with Cllr Kelly adding he had been left “very disappointed” by the decision.
Cllr PJ Reilly, who is a member of the boardof Longford Community Resources Ltd , said that Ballymahon, due to its location had initially been earmarked as the region’s Rural Transport headquarters.
He said it was his understanding that a late application to set up those offices in Mullingar had scuppered that move however.