St Mel’s Road row escalates

Workers on site at the St Mel's Road repair project. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
A major row is threatening to erupt between local politicians and Longford County Council over resurfacing works along St Mel’s Road in Longford town.

A major row is threatening to erupt between local politicians and Longford County Council over resurfacing works along St Mel’s Road in Longford town.

It follows an article in last week’s Leader in which local residents hit out at rumours council chiefs were concentrating their efforts on a more confined area of the road.

In a statement this week, Longford County Council confirmed former Town Council monies earmarked for St Mel’s Road would only cover works from the Ballinalee Road to Chapel Street junction.

“Originally Longford Town Council set aside special funds of €100,000 for road works on St Mel’s road,” the statement read, adding the money was for pavement overlay only.

During the restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral however and the recent addition of an off-street car park, the Council said pavements along St Mel’s Road deteriorated, rendering the original €100,000 allocation insufficient.

“It is intended to allocate funding to St Mel’s road next year for additional works subject to the approval of Longford Municipal District and the Department,” the statement continued.

The issue is one which is likely to be discussed at a special meeting of Longford’s Municipal District tomorrow (Thursday).

In anticipation of that meeting, three of the District’s six members slammed the Council’s reply, claiming the Council had in fact agreed to resurface the entire road.

“Who the hell do they (Council) think they are,” raged Cllr Mae Sexton.

“I am hopping, hopping mad like you wouldn’t believe.

“To say it will be up to the Municipal District to allocate funding is an insult to our intelligence.

“We (former Town Council) already prioritised money for these works.”

Cllr Sexton even went as far at to suggest she will be seeking resignations over the controversy.

“I want to see the minutes of previous meetings where we agreed all of this, but rest assured people will be made answer to this,” she added.

Fine Gael’s Peggy Nolan concurred.

“This is tantamount to disgraceful,” she blasted, as she revealed she would be unable to attend tomorrow’s meeting.

“There is absolutely no way I am going to accept that.

“It’s very convenient of the Council to roll out a statement like that in the middle of summer when people are on holidays.

“I can promise you that if they think this is the case, there will be one almighty row when I get back because five years ago I was promised that the whole of St Mel’s Road and its footpaths would be done.

“I am not accepting it and once again it’s a slight of hand with the Town Council having gone.”

Her council colleague and Independent representative, Cllr Gerry Warnock was equally scathing.

“It’s just not good enough,” he stressed..

“As one of the former members of the Town Council, it was very clear in our eyes what the agreement was.

“It’s not good enough and while I am not trying to hang anyone out to dry, serious questions have to be asked about this.”