Councillors from the Castlebar Municipal District have said that they will join with local residents in the Keelogues area if a proposed five-week road closure to facilitate works on the new N5 goes ahead.
The elected members raised the issue of the proposed closure of the L1711 (the old Keelogues road ) at their March monthly meeting, which took place on Wednesday afternoon, with the councillors all saying they had received a large number of representations from locals objecting to the proposed closure. Locals in the area had previously objected to a proposed five-month closure of the road.
Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District, Fianna Fáil councillor Martin McLoughlin, told the meeting that he felt it was unreasonable to have a five-week closure of the road and that he felt that works could possibly be done without closing the road. He added that if there was a public protest in relation to the closure, that he would be there to support the locals.
His party colleague, Cllr Al McDonnell, said that locals were angered and disappointed in the area about the plans to close the road for five weeks from April 19 to facilitate the works and that the alternate routes that were being proposed were long, narrow and dangerous for the locals to use.
Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne also backed the locals and said it was his understanding that if the contractor was granted the road closure, that when it happened the locals would attempt to block this closure and from the comments of the councillors in the chamber, all seven councillors in the district would be there supporting them.
The councillors appealed to the council executive to consider refusing the five-week road closure, with the suggestion being put forward that the locals would accept a short closure of the road for a period if the contractor could work 24-hours-a day to get it done and have it finished quickly.
The head of the Castlebar Municipal District, Iarla Moran, told the meeting that observations on the road closure can be made up to 4pm on April 4, the closing date for submissions and observations, and that a decision on the matter would be made some time next week.