There were heated scenes at Monday’s Municipal District meeting as councillors clashed over security concerns on the Greenway.
Fianna Fáil’s Frankie Keena and local Independent councillor Michael O’Brien crossed swords over whether or not the Greenway is being used by burglars as a means of gaining easy access to houses between Athlone and Moate.
The issue flared when Cllr O’Brien raised a motion calling for CCTV to be introduced on sections of the amenity in the interest of public safety. He told the chamber he had been approached by a senior member of the Gardaí and informed that the Greenway is being utilised to facilitate burglaries.
However, he was challenged on this statement by Cllr Keena, who accused him of “scaremongering”. Cllr Keena argued that the disused rail line that pre-dated the Greenway was known for anti-social behaviour, but that the situation will continue to improve the more use the amenity gets.
Cllr Keena advised Cllr O’Brien to refrain from providing “anecdotal evidence” to the chamber unless he had something more concrete to share.
A heated exchange ensued as the councillors fought for speaking position. “Excuse me, it is not anecdotal evidence, so you can go away with your scaremongering,” Cllr O’Brien retorted.
Order was restored by Mayor John Dolan, before director of services Barry Kehoe informed the chamber that CCTV on the Greenway is a matter for the Justice Department and is not something the council can tackle itself.