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'A victory for people power': Roscommon/Westmeath border to remain untouched

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said he was concerned any change could disrupt his constituent’s lives.

4/4/2016 Talks on Forming a New Government Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice Source: RollingNews.ie

INDEPENDENT TD MICHAEL Fitzmaurice has welcomed the news that there is to be no change to the Roscommon/Westmeath border.

Fitzmaurice had feared the fabric of both counties’ identities was at risk if the Boundary Commission Report decided that borders needed to be changed.

However, despite the news that there will be no amendment, Fitzmaurice said that there are still inter-county plans between Roscommon and Westmeath and that he will resist any change to the current boundaries.

He said this debate was not about politics, instead it was about local communities.

One of his main concerns was that rental income would be moved from one jurisdiction to another if there was a change.

‘Issue not over yet’

Fitzmaurice added that his opposition to the proposed amendments came down to more fundamental things for local people – like someone playing in the local GAA club – who could one minute be playing for Roscommon and the next for Westmeath.

He said: “While I welcome the fact that the status of Roscommon will not change as a result of the Boundary Commission Report published today there are conditions and changes in the report that may be a threat to the county’s status in the future and people should be very aware that this issue is not fully over with yet.

There is no doubt that the decision not to alter the actual boundaries is a victory for people power and the massive campaign that was launched in Roscommon against the proposals and I congratulate everyone concerned with that campaign.

However, Fitzmaurice said there are several elements in the report which indicate the proposals are not fully shelved and may have just been ‘”kicked down the road”.

He added that there have been strategies recommended between both Roscommon and Westmeath with regards to retail planning and “a proposed merging of services” which would include the HSE, IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other state and semi-state bodies.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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