Furious councillor blasts ‘anti Inishowen’ agenda

A furious Buncrana councillor has questioned if there’s an ‘anti Inishowen agenda’ as he dramatically stormed out of a council meeting in protest.

Disgruntled Buncrana Councillor Peter McLaughlin said he wanted to make a stand by leaving Buncrana town council meeting when a report into the IDA activity in Inishowen he was promised - and has been waiting months for - was not delivered by the town manager.

Just minutes into the meeting held on Wednesday Cllr McLaughlin asked town manager, John McLaughlin, if a report (he’d asked for) into a deal made by the Industrial Development Agency and Donegal County Council had been prepared and when he was told it wasn’t Cll McLaughlin stood up saying: “I am not going to wait any longer, I will come back to the next meeting, I think it is too many times I have listened to ‘reports are coming in’ and I am waiting too long.”

Mr McLaughlin (town manager) said he had made the request to the relevant people.

Speaking to the Journal after the meeting Cllr McLaughlin said he has serious concerns about why the report is taking so long to be delivered.

He was given a report back in January but at that meeting he said it didn’t give the mechanics of the deal done by the IDA and the council, as he’d requested.

He’s anxious to find out why the IDA have given over their properties to Donegal County Council and the council has agreed to waive development charges for businnesses setting up in IDA offices in Letterkenny - but nowhere else in the county, including Buncrana.

Cllr McLaughlin said this puts the town at a serious jobs disadvantage.

He said: “The IDA’s position is that they’re in charge of concentrating on the hub towns, like Letterkenny and Sligo. “They did a deal that any of their properties that had they give to the control of Donegal County Council in lieu of that they would waive development charges for any developments in Letterkenny town.

“I don’t have a problem with Letterkenny at all. I understand the position with the IDA but I can’t

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understand why the rest of the county can’t avail of the same situation? I feel it leaves us at a huge disadvantage.

“For example, take Fruit of the Loom - WPMcCarter from Buncrana went and sourced a partner and that was Fruit of the Loom and that provided employment to all over.

“If that was today we would have got Fruit of the Loom come to the area and if they approach the IDA about setting up the first thing the IDA would say is ‘we will help you but we have a place in Letterkenny that has no development charges’.”

Cllr McLaughlin said this is deeply unfair to an area like Buncrana desperately seeking businesses to set up in the area.

He added: “I’ve have asked for a report and I want to find out what the mechanics of this deal are.”

Cllr McLaughlin compared the situation to news that Project Kelvin - a super-speed broadband service - has been completed and would not be extended in to Buncrana. He said the project was 1m euro under budget and the cost for it to run in to Buncrana was 1m euro. He added: “Is there an anti-Inishowen agenda here? I can’t understand it because Buncrana’s the second biggest town in the county.”

Cllr McLaughlin said if a report isn’t furnished to him at the next Buncrana town council meeting he’ll be asking for the meeting to be adjourned until a report is ready.