More concerns have been raised this week by a local resident regarding where Bus Éireann is dropping off passengers intended for Clonbrusk Primary Care Centre.
While there is a bus stop in place directly outside the centre, passengers are currently being asked to disembark approximately 250 yards down the road at an undesignated area. Passengers, some of whom are in poor physical health and struggling with mobility issues, are being forced to walk the remainder of the journey.
This is not the first time the issue has come to light. A motion was raised at Municipal District level in July by Cllr John Dolan (FG ) calling on the council to request Bus Éireann to review the route to ensure that Clonbrusk Primary Care Centre is appropriately serviced. It was determined that a letter would be sent to Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority in an effort to rectify the issue. However, two months on the problem remains and patients of the centre continue to be put at unnecessary risk.
Speaking this week, Mayor of Athlone, Aengus O'Rourke, said he and his fellow public representatives have sent several letters to the relevant authorities regarding this issue.
"It is something we have kept on the agenda," he said. "Unfortunately, Bus Éireann has decided not to go as far as the Primary Care Centre. The intention always was that they would stop at the centre. There is an area designated for them to do so. They claim it is not convenient with their route, but it could not be more people making representations on this. We are doing it from a council point of view; we have written letters. We are all in the Public Participation Network, and they have made representations.
"I am on the Rapid Area Forum in Athlone, and they have made representations. Ashdale and Woodlands Grove residents association have also written and made representations. So, I think the pressure will bare some good news, but when that will happen I cannot say. We are doing all we can, but in the end the decision rests with Bus Éireann."