A number of Ashbourne area councillors have reacted with fury to comments made by a priest at a local mass recently.
Comments made at the service on Sunday, April 3rd which suggested councillors had done little for the community was badly received at the Ashbourne Municipal district meeting the following Tuesday.
A number, though Meath Live understands not all, of the councillors agreed to get local authority bosses to write to PP Fr Michael Kilmartin outlining exactly what works have been carried out in the vicinity of Donaghmore church in the last 18 months.
The original crux of the affair came in a statement posted in the Ashbourne parish bulletin that week.
It read, ‘A petition for signing is available at Donaghmore Mass this Sunday morning. Parishioners can also take a petition for neighbours and friends of Donaghmore Church to sign.
‘We are asking our local councillors to positively engage with the council executive of Meath County Council in bringing forward proposals that will improve safety for those attending masses, baptisms, funerals and weddings in this parish church.
‘Fr. Michael and Fr. Ciarán are saying at this time ‘The people of Donaghmore that we have met in church and at the parish, meetings feel that the dangerous bend at the church is inadequately addressed.
‘The church is at a blind corner and in works carried out this year the yellow painted lines were taken away both from the bend and outside the church for parking.
‘The rumble strips to slow traffic down have not been replaced in the recent road upgrade. There must be a better solution than signage when it comes to controlling traffic speeding at this extremely dangerous location.
‘The safety of people crossing the road to attend church and visit the cemetery should be addressed properly.’ Parishioners can help us by asking local representatives to put back in safety measures and find a solution that improves safety around the church. A church has existed in Donaghmore for centuries and is linked to St. Patrick’s time in county Meath .’
While that statement didn’t endear itself to councillors it was the alleged follow-up remarks that lit the flame.
One councillor who did not want to be named told Meath Live, ‘The priest was misinformed, to say the least, the information that was given to him was clearly incorrect’
Independent councillor Joe Bonner said, ‘ I wasn’t at the mass where the comments were made and have nothing but respect for the trojan work the priests are doing but there a few facts need to be clarified.
‘In the last 18 months at least €1.5m worth of work has been carried out either side of Donaghnmore church, from the Nine Mile Stone to the county boundary roads have been both widened and realigned, the bridge in that area has had new overlay put on it as well as substantial repair work carried out.
‘I’m not claiming credit for this as there were other councillors involved as well but the facts need to be put out there.’