Sligo ‘entering period of growth’ but financial discipline will remain a necessity

Sligo is entering a period of growth.

That’s according to the chief executive of Sligo County Council, Ciaran Hayes.

In a report coinciding with the end of the current councillors’ term just before the coming local elections, Mr Hayes said the priority for the next five years will be to stimulate the growth in collaboration with IT Sligo, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other agencies.

The outgoing council has had to deal with unprecedented financial challenges, with one of the most visible measures taken having been a huge reduction in staff numbers while, at the same time, ensuring services continued to be provided.

Mr Hayes says the council has come through considerable challenges in recent years and is now advancing a range of major infrastructure and other projects.

And he paid tribute to councillors for having made difficult budgetary decisions, as well as the council staff who managed the council’s finances in unprecedented circumstances.

Councillors also paid tribute to the council staff, saying there had been a lot done with little, and that the council was now in a better position than five years ago.

As to the next five years, Mr Hayes said it was hoped to use the council’s land portfolio to meet Sligo’s growing housing demand, to revitalise the main urban centre, develop further enterprise units, and establish Sligo as a ‘smart city location.’

He said he looked forward to working with the incoming council on initiatives to bring Sligo ‘into a new era of growth.’

Cathaoirleach Martin Baker said that after many difficult years, hope is beginning to return.

However, Mr Hayes has stressed that, what he called, ‘budgetary discipline’ will be with us for some time to come.

And he added that while there is now an energy and vibrancy around Sligo, he cautioned there are no quick fix solutions, and that it will take time to reverse the trends of recent years and decades.

It was an opinion echoed by Independent Councillor Declan Bree at yesterday’s council meeting during discussion on the council’s finances.

Referring to a report on revisions to the financial plan, he had this to say.