Local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, has welcomed the publication of draft by-laws to control parks, playground and open spaces in the Athlone Moate Municipal District.
“I am delighted to see the draft by-laws or the control of parks, playgrounds and open spaces in our Municipal District published and going for public consultation as agreed at our recent local authority meeting on Monday afternoon.
“I had a detailed motion with regard to such by-laws before our Municipal District Meeting in September 2020 and it was agreed that they should be drafted.
“There have been a number of incidents where tents were erected in public parks and in one case in front of our own Council offices in Athlone. Both the Council and the Gardaí were powerless to move the people concerned as they claimed that they were protesting against homelessness, and had a right to protest.
“So, I decided that I would request a by-law to be introduced to control this behaviour and give the authorities the powers to remove offenders and help deal with anti-social behaviour.
“I am delighted that the proposed by-laws will not only control the issue of tents being erected, but also deal with a number of other issues which interfere with the public enjoying our parks and public realm safely, such as the keeping of all dogs on a leash, lighting fires, the consumption of alcohol, and a number of additional features which will give the Gardaí powers to intervene and stop this sort of behaviour happening.
“Our parks and public areas are there for us all to enjoy and use and with the help of these by-laws enforced by the Gardaí, the minority who are engaged in anti-social behaviour will be dealt with and let everyone enjoy our great parks and open spaces within the Athlone Moate District,” Cllr Dolan stated,