A very successful community meeting took place in Ballinode Hall on Thursday 6th December 2018 in order to find a vision of how the potential of Ballinode can be exploited, and to prepare a Plan for the village. In attendance at the meeting were Carol Lambe, Liz Brannigan, Paul Clifford and Donal McElwaine from Monaghan County Council, as well as Councillors Paudge Connolly, David Maxwell and Seamus Treanor. Ballinode is one of four areas in the county at this stage of initial interaction with planning meetings.

The Plan will identify the key issues in the community, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing it going forward.  The Plan will comment on how the needs of your community might best be addressed and will advise on the projects which might be put in place in order to meet these needs. It will also put together a list of Actions which identify the various groups and agencies which will need to play a role in developing the project, and it will, through a process of dialogue with the community, prioritise the projects, to help your community organize local resources, and also to demonstrate to funding bodies how projects fit into a wider strategy and contribute to the development of the community as a whole – an aspect that many projects get turned down on when applying for funding.

Carol Lambe introduced some of the demographics from Census 2016, where Ballinode is classified as a settlement. There are 470 people in the village in 184 houses, and 50 people live alone which represents 27% of the local population. 50 people have a disability (10.6%). 3% are aged over 80, 12% are aged 65 – 79, and 21% are aged under 12. 22% are aged 35 to 49, and 18% are aged from 20 to 34. 21 people in the area don’t speak English well, and these non Irish nationals are mostly Polish and Lithuanian. Almost 75% of houses are owner occupied, with 55% of these mortgage free. 82 people rely on private landlords, and 27 people are in Local Authority housing.

The best way of accessing funding is to have a plan in place – with costings – and have it ready to access funding when the funding stream is announced. Making an application for funding is a time consuming, detailed, and difficult task – having a project “spade ready” and waiting for a suitable funding stream to come along is very prudent. A number of project ideas were floated at the meeting – a proposed walkway/footpath from Connolly’s Bridge to Lemaculla – a route used regularly as a “looped” walk from the village, but an extremely dangerous route; a proposed riverside walk from Ballinode to Connolly’s bridge; more road safety/traffic management infrastructure to slow traffic through the village and to promote safety for everyone, particularly pedestrians; upgrades and repairs to stone walling; flood risk assessment for the village; repairs to the rare Church clock which was donated to the Church in 1880 by the widow of Rev WH Woodwright; bus shelters and an increase in car parking; the ideas were varied and attainable, yet there’s room for many more.

Having a plan is half the battle – getting it delivered would promote a clean, good quality and sustainable environment, and living in a respectful, prosperous, safe and vibrant community. There will be a further meeting in January 2019, and we invite anyone with suggestions or ideas are most welcome to come along.  you can also contact Carol Lambe in Monaghan County Council on 047 73725 or Liz Brannigan on 047 30500 Ext 1497.

A section of the crowd who attended the planning meeting.