McFadden respects the council’s decision

Gabrielle McFadden says she accepts and respects the decision to introduce a one-way system for Church Street.

Senator McFadden has opposed the idea of a one-way system on two occasions, in 2008 and in 2017. However, after councillors voted in favour of a westward system on Monday this week, she said it is now time to look forward.

"The seven councillors from the Municipal District were unanimous in their decision," she said. "I don't think they took the decision lightly. It's democracy and I have to respect that."

Senator McFadden added that she had never stood in opposition to the development of Athlone, and that her concerns only revolved around a one-way system.

"I just wasn't in favour of the one-way as I didn't believe there was any difference between now and 2008," she said. "I believed it would do damage to the businesses in the town. I was also afraid that if the roads are narrow and the paths raised, how do emergency service vehicles get through the town?

"But I respect that the councillors came to the best decision they could in terms of the betterment of the town, and I hope all my concerns are proved wrong in the long term. I hope we do have an attractive streetscape that is so beautiful that the IDA are going to bring investors to the town by the truck load and that tourists will come as a result of this."

Commenting on some of the details of the proposed plan, Senator McFadden highlighted free parking and improved signage as key components.

"The free parking is obviously a positive," she said. "And if signage is forthcoming and visitors are directed into the town that will be great, as people always say that it is hard to get in and out of due to poor signage. It is very important that information gets out there well in advance of the works.

"I am also delighted to see that there will be a project manager. I think it is very important that there is a go-to person for all stakeholders, and that the person's number is available.

"I don't want to criticise the executive because I believe they are doing this for the right reasons, I just don't know if they are right. They want the best for Athlone, and they believe they are doing the right thing, but time will tell."

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