Constituency Review Submission from Christopher Callan
Submission ID: S348
I refer to the invitation of the Electoral Commission for submissions in relation to its proposed report on constituency boundaries. I am resident and working in Boyle where I have been a solicitor in practice for 35 years. Our firm employs circa 50 people located in Boyle, Sligo, Ballina, Galway and Limerick; the main centres of employment for the practice being in Boyle and Sligo. The original practice located in Boyle merged with a practice in Sligo in 2008. This provided the necessary foundation for progress.
The main driver for the merger was the declining business and commercial environment in north Roscommon at the time and the need to expand the practice to remain viable and competitive going forward. There was no reality to looking south where the closest population centre is Roscommon town. However, there is no real connection between Boyle and Roscommon town. It made more sense to look in the direction of Sligo. The close social, commercial and demographic connection which exists between Boyle (north Roscommon) and Sligo (now 25 minutes by car on the N4 and 30 minutes by rail – Dublin-Sligo rail link) places Boyle and north Roscommon firmly in the Sligo/Leitrim nexus.
The main state employers being the HSE, Department of Social Protection, Revenue, Waterways Ireland and the County Councils are located in Sligo and Carrick on Shannon. They provide significant employment for the population of north Roscommon. This is supplemented by large private sector companies such as Abbotts, Abbvie, Avantcard and Vistamed, and a growing SME sector particularly in Sligo.
Many parents in north Roscommon now choose to educate their children in Sligo: Summerhill College, Sligo Grammar School, Ursuline or Mercy Convent Secondary Schools. This is a growing trend and is possible because of proximity and connectivity. The Atlantic Technical University is also providing access to excellent third level courses for young and old in this area.
Similarly, in terms of recreation and entertainment, we use the restaurants, cinemas, sports and swimming pool facilities in Carrick on Shannon and Sligo. The Sligo coastline provides many beaches which are on our doorstep. Our nearest general hospital is Sligo University Hospital (although technically we should be attending Galway which is not realistic). This is where we go in case of emergency. This is where our children are born. The North West Hospice in Sligo town provides high quality end of life care for the terminally ill.
To conclude, I believe that the future of north Roscommon is better served by remaining in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency. This better reflects the way people in this region actually live their lives.