I am calling on the boundary commission established by Minister Alan Kelly to consider the extension of Athlone’s administrative responsibilities into Roscommon, to be abandoned.
Since the process began no information has been provided to the people in the areas under review and as a result people are understandably confused, suspicious and alarmed.
The government have failed to communicate the process, the proposal or the possible outcomes to the people of both Roscommon and Westmeath. Is it any wonder the people of Roscommon don’t want this. What started out as a proposal to introduce administrative changes has now turned into something completely different in the minds and hearts of every Roscommon person and I don’t blame them one bit.
Not a single leaflet, brochure or public presentation was prepared or made available by the commission to explain the proposal. As a result, there are numerous versions of the proposal flying around in a very dangerous way. The most common version involves the ludicrous thought of redrawing the map of Ireland to reduce the size of Roscommon and increase the size of Westmeath. Also,changes to sporting clubs and parishes are being spoken of, none of which was ever on the cards.
My view all along was that a plebiscite should have been taken to ask the people what they wanted for their area. Let the citizens decide not a commission appointed by a minister on a mission. We live in a democracy, so why shouldn’t the people be the ones to decide. However, in order for people to make a decision they need the information. The commission have failed to provide the necessary information and in the absence of a coherent explanation of the proposal chaos, misinformation and scaremongering will reign. This proposal should now be abandoned with immediate effect. If there is to be any future proposal of this kind the people must be the ones who decide.