Cllr Winston Bennett outside the Market House in Ballinagh.

All eyes on the Market House and road projects

Winston Bennett is looking forward to an exciting year ahead for Ballinagh with all eyes on the Market House development and progress on the town’s bypass.

“The Council has bought B&F Stores and the Market House, and I’m delighted to announce that James Burke and Associates has been appointed to do the feasibility study. They are looking to open a food hub, which are already established in a lot of other counties, and it would be great if we could get it up and running. We would hope that out of this feasibility study, something will be developed in both B&F and the Market House and will create a number of jobs in the area.”

Funding for the purchase was secured from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2022 - Building Acquisition Measure. The feasibility study is expected to be complete by August 2024.

“If anyone in the community has any ideas, please feed them to myself or to Cavan County Council,” added Cllr Bennett.

Fresh from attending the Council Budget meeting he was also delighted to report that the bypass for Ballinagh has “taken a step forward”. The project’s technical advisors Roughan & O’Donovan Cosulting Engineers completed their strategic assessment report and submitted it to TII who have given approval to progress the scheme to commence the planning and design phases. Cavan County Council is currently finalising tender documents and anticipate appointing consultants in the first three months of 2024.

“It’s moving in the right direction,” he enthused.

Remaining on the roads, the safety measures planned for the dangerous junction at Cashel Cross will now happen in the New Year.

“The tenders are signed, and that will be welcome” he said, adding also that the new section of the N55 at Mullahoran is due to open by next Autumn.

While the Market House and road developments holds the promise of investment in the future, he was eager to congratulate Philomena Connolly on opening her new business on Main Street earlier this summer.

“I’d like to welcome Philomena opening the Red Robin Boutique, and I wish them very well.”

Likewise he welcomed Dr Michelle McCauley to Ballinagh.

He noted the picnic area beside Ballinagh Community Centre was set to benefit from significant enhancement work, courtesy of the Community and Regeneration fund.

“I hope to see it started in the New Year,” he said.

There’s already been some great work on a community garden with the installation of a fine polytunnel and raised beds. Sheltered behind a wall near the playground, the development may have gone unnoticed by many. One of those who drove the project forward is Laura Brady who has left Ballinagh Community Enterprise for a new challenge, and Cllr Bennett thanked her for her passion and dedication to the role and wished her well in her new job.

He also noted the walking track of Ballinagh GAA football pitch being lit up in the evenings, and the completion of the astro turf of Bruskey School - under Clár funding, as welcome developments. “It’s really great to see for the school,” he said.

Meanwhile Lacken Men’s Shed received “a big boost” by securing a grant worth €3,000.

“As everyone says, the most important thing in a Men’s Shed is the kettle. Especially, for men living on their own, it gives them somewhere to socialise. And they all do great work for the community, so it’s well deserved. The Hen’s Shed here in Ballinagh is also going from strength to strength.”

Also on a community theme he was eager to pay tribute to Ballinagh Vintage Club, who organised of the Sam Bennett Tractor Run last June, raising an impressive €13,000-plus for Cavan Palliative Care. “There’s not a family in the country who won’t need palliative care at some stage, and it’s great to see this huge cheque from a small community being handed over.”

Finally Cllr Winston Bennett concluded: “I wish every one a very happy and safe Christmas.”