Businesses in the Bailieborough area are said to be “furious” at the local authority for the condition that roads in the centre of the town and on approach roads have been allowed to lapse into. They are feeling “neglected”, according to Fianna Fail area Cllr Niamh Smyth, with locals believing the town should command more attention given both its size in county context, not to mention the sizeable contribution enterprises there make to Council coffers in the form of commercial rate payments.
“It's the second biggest town after Cavan Town, and the businesses have worked out themselves they contribute in the region of €560,000 in rates on an annual basis. That's a minimum. That's a significant amount of money from any town, never mind being gathered from an area with a two-mile radius”, Cllr Smyth told The Anglo-Celt.
Exasperated, she says local business owners are fearful the poor conditions of roadways will have a significant knock-on effect in attracting customers and even new investment to the town, and they are now beginning to ask hard questions of the council to explain the situation they find themselves in.
“They want to know where is the investment in Bailieborough? Where is their rates money going? And where is that investment being made back in the town? They're even asking why at all do they pay rates if nothings coming of it”, she said.
Cllr Smyth added that “old excuses” that the money is being invested in public amenities such as libraries and parks is of scant consolation to “the business person down the road trying to keep their doors open and the staff inside employed. It means nothing to the person trying or keep the lights on, or answer to the bank on a Monday morning when repayments on the loans they have have to be made.
Ongoing construction works on the major refurbishment of Bailieborough's water supply network, including the construction of an intake works, a water treatment plant and distribution mains has done little to help matters.
While business owners are conscious of this and the need for the scheme, they argue that in some cases, roads are not being restored to their original state after work has taken place.
“We're all mindful of the fact there has to be this disruption, however, it is worrying when we talk to our Senior Engineer about this and look for a roads plan for after the work is done and there is none.
“The town at present is being left in a visually unappealing state. That's not to take away from all the work being done by all the various community groups like Tidy Towns, Bailieborough Regeneration and Community Alert who have all done so much to keep the place clean and tidy, but their good work is going to nothing the way things are being left.
“They can with all the best will in the world paint neglected buildings, put out flower boxes and all the rest with it, but if the Main Street is left untidy, dirty and shabby, if the bins are left over-flowing, the footpaths are dirty and grotty, they're working up against a brick wall. The Main Street is where people coming to the town go to and in many ways is the last impression that people take with them when leaving the area, so its so important to have it up to standard, Cllr Smyth told the Celt.