The lack of illumination on the town bridge to ensure the safety of those traversing the River Shannon in the heart of Athlone on dark winter evenings was the source of much angst from an animated Cllr Aengus O’Rourke as he addressed the council executive at the most recent sitting of Athlone-Moate Municipal District.
Noting his normal “mild mannered demeanour” within the council chamber setting, Cllr O’Rourke, stated that it was the third successive meeting at which he had raised the concerning issue at a Municipal District meeting.
“This is the third successive meeting at which I have raised the issue of a major lighting shortage on our town bridge. There is, I believe, a distinct lack of action to rectify this issue and ensure the safety of pedestrians who cross the town bridge and what are now dark winter evenings.
“We need to fix the broken lights with immediate effect. I am continuously being contacted by in excess of 50 constituents who are concerned for their safety as they walk over the town bridge. Who is actually responsible to remedy this situation? It reflects so badly on all of us as a council that we cannot have this urgent work conducted.
“I do believe that our standards have dropped. I am generally a mild tempered individual but I am boiling inside as I address this chamber today. I take no pleasure in expressing these views, but they have to be noted,” Cllr O’Rourke asserted.
Responding, director of services, Mr Barry Kehoe, stated that works relating to the issue had taken place since the previous Municipal District meeting.
“The contractors are doing their utmost to rectify this situation, but had issues sourcing the necessary parts to replace the broken lighting on the town bridge. These parts have now been sourced and acquired and the issue should be rectified this week. Unfortunately, there was no alternative safety solution while the contractors sourced the necessary parts, but the issue is to be imminently rectified,” Mr Kehoe stated.
Noting Mr Kehoe’s response, Cllr O’Rourke stated that he was completely unaware as to such developments and hoped that he would be informed on a more regular basis with regard to such issues going forward.