Mayor Aengus O'Rourke (FF ) says the amount of weeds and moss in certain areas of Athlone is giving a whole new meaning to the region's 'growth centre' title.
Mayor O'Rourke raised a question at last week's meeting of the Athlone Municipal District regarding the frequency the council's weed spraying contractor operates in the Athlone area.
Mayor O'Rourke said certain sections of the town are in a bad state, and added that he was "embarrassed" that Athlone did not look as well as it could have for the recent All-Ireland Drama Festival.
Sinn Féin councillor, Paul Hogan, shared the mayor's concerns. He said several roundabouts in the town, often the first thing to great visitors, have foot high weeds growing on them. He said the situation is not good enough when Athlone is expecting adjudicators from the Tidy Towns in the coming weeks.
Cllr Michael O'Brien (Ind ) said it irks him when he is driving in to Athlone and Moate to see weed and moss. He commended Moate Tidy Towns for the work they have done in the locality, but urged the local authority to do more. Simply spraying the weeds will not be enough for some areas, he said.
Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said the same issue has been coming up now for 12 months to two years. He said the tender was offered to the contractor in plenty of time this year, but just a few weeks ago issues with insurance came up that prevented the contractor from starting his work. The insurance issue was only remedied two weeks ago, meaning the contractor only got the go ahead to start spraying last week.
Mr Kehoe said the contractor will spray the weeds now, but that they will not be able to remove them before they die, meaning they are here to stay a little longer!