Councillors at Monday’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District unaminously called for immediate action to be taken to remove caravans and mobile homes currently parked up on a patch of land on the Athlone side of Moate.
The issue was raised by Fine Gael Cllr John Dolan at the end of the meeting. Cllr Dolan said he appreciated there is a legal process to be gone through, but that the time being taken to resolve the matter is unfair on all the people in the locality who adhere to strict planning laws.
Cllr Dolan said he did not want to hinder anything that was currently a matter for the courts, but that urgent action is needed to resolve a situation which has been dragging on since last October. “The matter needs to be dealt with urgently,” he said. “I urge the council to take action before our next meeting.”
Mayor Tom Farrell acknowledged that the local community have expressed their disatisfaction with the matter and supported the call for action.
Independent Councillor Michael O’Brien, said he is receiving calls daily on the matter and that urgent action is needed before the situation deteriorates further.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Frankie Keena, said he appreciates there is a legal process to go through, but remarked that “the people involved are laughing at us”.
Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said he understood people’s frustrations but that the council is “bound by the legal process”. Mr Kehoe said he will make contact with the council’s solicitors again before updating councillors on the matter. He assured councillors that the situation is one of priority and that he hoped to be able to provide them with an update within a matter of days.