The results of a recent Cavan Community Forum in Blacklion shows that the community feel “isolated” from the rest of Cavan and have concerns over the current Garda presence and the new Leitrim-Sligo constituency.
Cavan Community Forum recently brought the Community Roadshows supported by PEACE III to Blacklion with the aim of building stronger community links which will nurture local support for areas around the county.
There were many issues identified in the area one of which included the “failure of jurisdiction.” Locals informed the forum that Ballyconnell Garda Station took over the jurisdiction of the area from Manorhamilton.
They said this is not practical during months in which a weather closed Cuilcagh hampers the Ballyconnell Garda station response time. The community feel that the jurisdiction should be decided upon by response time and not county boundaries.
The community also queried the rational which lies behind any downgrade of Gardai in an area with a local prison. They believe the recent security lapses in Lough House Prison highlight the need for greater Garda presence in Blacklion.
Although Blacklion feels their current West Cavan political representatives are strong, they think their voice will be lost in the new Leitrim-Sligo constituency which will incorporate West Cavan and South Donegal. They are concerned about “who will we turn to now to represent our needs as West Cavan people?”
They want to know where was the consultation in devising the new constituency. They suggested accessing the constitutional forum to highlight their identity and cultural differences.
They believe they should follow Leitrim’s campaign of mass mobilized pre-census submissions for a reunified county.
They also put forward the idea to “move to retain Cavan County Council as sovereign representative body for West Cavan.”
The issue of isolation and “unbelonging” to the rest of Cavan due to the geographical obstacle of The Cuilcagh Mountains was also noted.
The community asked how they could counter the negative image of “away up there” from central Cavan. Funding wise, the local community feel that projects of late seem “tokenistic” and are not practically aiding communities or groups. They also brought up the problem of tenders being lost to Northern companies as Southern businesses find it “impossible to compete.”
Emigration, a lack of infrastructure, “embarrassing” broadband speed, lack of business development or creation in the area and the loss of community spirit was also discussed during the Community Forum Roadshow.