The controversial bollard located at Breaden’s Lane was removed recently by Longford Town Council, more than two years after it was originally erected by the local authority on health and safety grounds.
At a meeting of Longford Town Council last Wednesday evening, Town Clerk Dan Rooney said upon seeking legal advice, the council had been advised to step in and remove the structure whilst further debate on the issue took place.
“It (bollard) was put there for safety reasons,” said Mr Rooney, referring to previous regeneration work carried out on the laneway.
“The Ombudsman was written to and he recommended that we go back to the consultation process which is where we are now. The legal advice said that if a consultation process is in place the bollard should be removed.”
A number of members, led by Cllr Paul Connell, however took issue with the recommendations given.
The Tesco employee insisted those handing out such directions needed to be called to account if a serious accident was to occur whilst the bollard is down.
“If there is a child killed, then the person giving this advice must be held responsible because there is no question about it that when a car comes out of there (Breaden’s Lane ) there is no way they can see a child,” he said.
Cllr Gerry Warnock said he too had misgivings about the decision and called for council chiefs to look at putting a ban on all traffic going in and out of the lane, except for local businesses and residents.
“The bollard was obviously put there for a reason,” he explained.
“The fairest compromise would be to pedestrianise the whole lane for local access only because I would have fears that it (lane) might turn into a rat run.”
The debate, at times quite heated, also saw an uneasy standoff develop between Cllrs Michael Connellan and Denis Hughes.
This after the Fine Gael representative asked why Cllr Connellan had been “supervising” the bollard’s removalearlier that day (Wednesday).
“I didn’t supervise it,” replied a confused looking Cllr Connellan.
“I got a phonecall last week to meet a number of residents who came to me and I simply met them at 11am this morning,” pointing out his presence on Breaden’s Lane had nothing to do with the bollard being taken down.
Cllr Tony Flaherty, who revealed his opposition to removing the bollard, asked for the matter to be thrashed out once and for all at a special meeting of the council two days later.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Brendan Gilmore said he was reluctant to debate the issue any further with two councillors (Peggy Nolan and James Keogh) absent, a declaration which prompted a frosty response from Cllr Flaherty: “Chairman, I didn’t think you were as watery as that.”
The fallout from the bollard saga will finally be decided upon one way or another at the neXt meeting of Longford Town Council in early December.