Balbriggan link with Skerries is good for both

The new Balbriggan LEA will be a leaner electoral area at the next local elections, shedding Rush and Lusk and many of the rural villages of North Fingal but retaining Skerries.

With the loss of two major towns and a network of rural villages, the new-look LEA will be slimmed down from eight seats to just five, making it one of the most competitive LEAs in the county.

The newly drawn Balbriggan LEA encompasses Balbriggan Rural, Balbriggan Urban, Holmpatrick, and Skerries.

While the race to fill the new five-seat LEA in next year’s local elections will be very competitive, of the current councillors sitting on Fingal County Council, only four are from the areas in the area left in the revised LEA.

That leaves room for at least one brand new face for Balbriggan and Skerries voters and local Green Party representative, from Skerries, Joe O’Brien hopes it may be him and he think the slimmed down LEA will be good for both Balbriggan and Skerries.

He told the Fingal Independent: ‘I look forward to getting local Party approval to run in the new Balbriggan-Skerries Ward.

‘I think the new configuration will provide a great opportunity to better integrate the two towns. Central to this will be the development of the cycle track and walk way between the two towns.

‘Also key is strong oversight of how the new Socio-Economic Development strategy for Balbriggan will be implemented.

‘It is key that implementation is community led and that the professionals who have failed in the planning for Balbriggan in the past play an appropriate but not deciding role.’

Sitting Balbriggan councillors all argued the town should stay in a single LEA and that ambition has been achieved with this Boundary Committee report, published last week.

With the loss of Rush, Lusk and the rural villages from the Balbriggan LEA and the omission of Donabate and Portrane from the Swords LEA, the Boundary Committee had to figure out a way to accommodate all of those voters and they did so by creating a brand new LEA.

That LEA is to be known as the Rush/Lusk LEA but as well as those two towns, it will also include Ballyboughal, Balscadden, Clonmentha, Donabate, Portrane, Garristown and Hollywood.

This brand new LEA will have five seats to contest, which should mean a tight race with six sitting councillors on Fingal County Council who have their political bases in these areas of the county including two from Rush, two from the Donabate and Portrane peninsula, one from Lusk and one from rural North Fingal. Six into five will not go and next year’s election is likely to mean that one of these areas will see reduced representation on the council.

Fingal Independent