Residents take aim at St Mel’s Road saga

Workers on site at the St Mel's Road repair project. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Confusion over resurfacing works along one of Longford town’s oldest streets is causing consternation locally.

Confusion over resurfacing works along one of Longford town’s oldest streets is causing consternation locally.

Improvement works along St Mel’s Road from the corner of Chapel Street to the Cathedral Junction have been ongoing for the past four weeks.

The works are scheduled to end this Friday (July 31) following construction works that were carried out on St Mel’s Cathedral over the past five years.

However, residents living along the road vented their anger at claims this week that the remaining stretch of St Mel’s Road will not be included in any restorative works.

Local woman Mary King is angered by the decision to close off her daily route to work and she added that the council had promised residents that St Mel’s Road would be resurfaced in its entirety.

“We were told the whole road to Mel’s Road and Chapel Street as soon as the Cathedral was finished would be completely re-done, paths the whole lot,” she said.

“It’s so annoying because I would have to go into work early in the mornings and we have to walk up the back way which is ridiculous at that hour of the morning because you don’t know who is around.”

A few doors down, a visibly irate George Shedwell followed suit.

“There is no way you will get up there,” he said, pointing to a barrier at the corner of Chapel Street.

“You have to go round the back way. We should have some kind of access to get in and out. We didn’t think we would have this hardship. They don’t give a damn about you and have no respect for no-one.”

He also said that he feared the consequences if emergency vehicles could not get speedy access to the street.

Ellen Mooney said she found the ongoing roadworks frustrating in her attempts to attend Mass and visit her local GP.

“Going to Mass I have to go up through the car park (Tesco), out onto Chapel Street and in the back way. It’s the same if I want to go to the doctors,” she said.

Local councillor Mae Sexton said it was her understanding money assigned for footpath resurfacing was reassigned to ongoing excavation works that had run over budget.

“I am absolutely furious,” she angrily stated.

“Residents down there have put up with so much and have done so on the basis that they believed the footpaths and the rest of St Mel’s Road would be done.

“I can assure them though that this money will be found and I will be asking that somebody is made answerable for this.

“Whoever did the pre-excavation works obviously got a costing.

“Somebody had to do the estimates on this, but to take money from another fund is just not on and I intend to get to the bottom of it.”

However, Longford County Council disputed the claims made by Cllr Sexton, saying no moneys were redirected from one project to another.