At the February meeting of Athlone Town Council, Cllr Mick O’Connell asked the council to discuss its communications plan for traders and the public for the 2009 Triathlone event.
Commenting Cllr O’Connell stated “I raised this issue as last year there was an amount of frustration on the part of traders and the general public on the day of the event. We need to do everything we can to ensure that traders and the public in general are well informed so the amount of disruption to them can be minimised. This year’s event will be on Saturday July 18 and we need to start talking about it now so that people are aware that there will be road closures and disruptions on that day.
“The Triathlone event has been a great success for Athlone. This will be the fourth year of the event and it has gone from strength to strength. Liam Heavin and the organising committee have done a great job in developing the event and it is of great benefit for the town. Securing the European Championships in 2010 has been a great achievement and places Athlone firmly on the Triathlon map. All stakeholders in the event need to work to minimise the impact on traders and the public. We need to ensure that everybody is aware of the potential impact and the overall benefit to the town.”
Cllr O’Connell believes that it is up to the relevant stakeholders in the event, including the event organisers, town council, Gardai, and sub aqua club to come together to ensure that they present the most professional effort and that the council considers this event as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 event.
Responding to Cllr O’Connell, Athlone Town Council said that “meetings between Triathlone, the council, and Gardai will be arranged early next month and when draft proposals have been developed they will be jointly discussed with the Street Traders Association and the Chamber of Commerce. Final proposals will be publicly advertised and submissions invited before road closure decisions are made. Media publicity will also be given to the closures.”
Commenting on the response from the council, Cllr O’Connell stated that he was happy that meetings to discuss the event were shortly going to take place, and that he and other members of the council would be available in whatever way they could to assist.