Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has said that the extension of the Wicklow/Kildare county boundary at Blessington would provide a ‘huge opportunity’ for the economic and social development of the town.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:
“The development of Blessington is being stifled by the imposition of the current county boundary between Wicklow and Kildare. This is negatively impacting on the development of Blessington both economically and socially. Currently the County boundary cuts nearly right into Blessington Town centre.
“I am proposing that the new route for the N81 upgrade become the new natural boundary for Wicklow and Kildare. This route bypasses Blessington and will leave a sizable green field area that remains to be developed. I believe now is the time to start the official process of seeking a boundary extension. At the moment there is only one housing estate in the area that I’m proposing to move from Kildare into Wicklow, Blessington Manor. Many of the residents there are originally from Blessington and shop, socialise, work and send their children to school in Wicklow.
“It is lunacy to have two local authorities working back to back when it comes to part of Blessington and its surrounding areas. This is a unnecessary block to the natural development of Blessington. Not only is there a duplication of services, there are two separate Development Plans dealing with the Blessington area. The Kildare Development plan doesn’t take a holistic view of the development of Blessington into the future and this is stifling its development.
One prime example of Kildare’s lack of interest in the area is the failure to complete the Blessington inner relief road. The last section of this planned road runs through Kildare and there appears to be no appetite by Kildare County Council to complete this important piece of infrastructure.
“I have put my proposals to the Wicklow County Manager, Frank Curran and have also written to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD to start the official process. I have also contacted the Chairperson of the Baltinglass Municipal District asking him to have the issue discussed at the next council meeting and hopefully to support the proposal.
Local Sinn Féin representative Aidan Kinsella concluded “This proposed extension will allow Blessington to grow and prosper without the negative impact of the current boundary. We will be going door to door in Blessington, including Blessington Manor which will be directly affected and outlining our proposals. I hope that this common sense proposal gets the support that it needs both from the public and local politicians and that the official process can commence as soon as possible.”