Traders furious over fears lights will stay out on Westside over Christmas
By Maria Daly
Shoppers and traders on the west side of Athlone will be left in darkness this Christmas as issues over broken street lights in the area continue.
Councillors voiced the frustrations of traders on the west side of Athlone at this week’s at Athlone Town Council’s December meeting.
Cllr Kevin “Boxer” Moran explained to members the Westside Traders Association were apprehensive that they would be without street lights again this Christmas. He was asking director of services, Barry Kehoe, how long it would be before the council would acquire funding to fix street lights, especially around the castle, that had been neglected.
Cllr Kieran Moran was critical that after millions were spent on the castle the council were still unable to fix the lights around it. “There is the Adoration Church which is open 24 hours, a lot of older people visit it at night and it’s dangerous to have no street lights there,” he said.
Cllr Gabrielle McFadden was concerned that lights would not be fixed until the new year. “The lack of lighting around Westside is a serious health and safety issue. Seemingly no lights in Pearse Streeet, Church Street, and the castle will be fixed until January. It’s not good enough. This job will have to be prioritised.”
Mr Kehoe said that funding was now available for repairing lights. He acknowledged that broked lighting was an issue and that the lights around the castle are an emergency case.
“Energy costs are continuing to rise... we will only be repairing emergency situations at the moment,” he said.
Mr Kehoe was unable to give a date for the repairs but assured councillors that the town engineer would be going through a list of broken lights as soon as possible to pick the emergency lights.
“We will be putting extra funding into lighting in 2013,” Mr Kehoe added.
Councillors were also concerned that the car park around the castle would not reopen for Christmas. Mr Kehoe explained that the council would need that space for ongoing construction that would be commencing in the new year. Cllr McFadden asked that construction materials were not moved to the carpark for the three weeks of Christmas as construction was not to start until the new year.