Ballymahon's traffic congestion woes look set to be consigned to the past following a government backed announcement to develop a €150,000 car park in the south Longford town.
Minister for the OPW Kevin 'Boxer' Moran delivered the news this morning by revealing contractors will begin construction work this week adjacent to St Matthew's National School.
Mr Moran heaped praise on local authority officials and local committee members in helping bring closure to one of the most contentious to affect the south Longford town for many years.
"This has been a long running issue and has been one which has been in place since I was elected (in 2016)," he said.
In singling out the efforts of Longford County Council senior planner Donal Mac an Bheatha and local Parish Priest Fr Liam Murray, the Athlone based TD described the announcement as a "big, big news story" for Ballymahon.
"We talked about bringing gas to Ballymahon which we have done, we talked about installing the White Bridge which has been done, we were on about bringing infrastructural improvements to the town which have been done and now this," he said.
The bulk of the monies, Mr Moran added, had been set aside via Clár funding drawn down from Rural Affairs Minister Micheal Ring's department, along with local authority monies as well as financial input from St Matthew's NS itself.
"This is also massive for people who may have looked at setting up business in Ballymahon who may have had concerns about on street parking.
"Not just for parents and schoolchildren, this is a big, big win for everyone in Ballymahon."
They were sentiments which were not entirely shared by local business figures, however.
Jackie White, PRO of Ballymahon Traders Association said while progress concerning the development of a car park at the top end of town was welcome, concerns still remained.
“It's great for the school yes, but there is still a huge issue regards parking in the town itself,” she said.
“There is a project being worked on at the minute and we (traders) are very anxious that it will be sorted out.”
Ms Whyte said unease surrounding car parking was something which was not new to Ballymahon and had its origins dating back as far as “seven to eight” years ago.
“This (planned €150k development) does not sort out issues in the town centre,” she said.
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