Sinn Féin councillor Michael Mulligan has said that business owners and local residents in Ballaghaderreen have once again voiced their concerns regarding the proposed Public Realm Enhancement project for the town.
Cllr. Mulligan told the Roscommon People that a meeting had taken place on the Square earlier this week.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr. Mulligan, who is the joint-chairperson of the newly formed Ballaghaderreen Traders and Residents Group, which represents twenty-eight ratepayers in the town, said: “This was the very first opportunity business people and residents were given to have their views heard on major changes to the Square in Ballaghaderreen. Those present made it clear to councillors that at no stage were they consulted with on these plans.
“In fact, a number of people at the meeting stated that at a recent meeting in relation to these plans, their questions could not be answered by those involved. This was hugely alarming. Despite being stated on a number of occasions, the proposed plans for Ballaghaderreen have not been displayed – all we have actually seen to date are artist’s impressions,” he said.
The Sinn Féin councillor said the proposed loss of parking spaces would have a detrimental impact on both local residents and commerce in the town.
“A number of comparisons with Boyle were made at the meeting, however it is important to note that Boyle lost eleven car parking spaces, and we are talking about fifty-four. We have an older population in the town, especially living on the Square, and they are expected to park in a car park at the bottom of the town and walk home. They will have no parking at their home.
“Local businesses cited that fact that people will not shop with them where they have to carry heavy purchases down the town to a car park. People will simply go elsewhere,” he said.
Cllr. Mulligan added that nobody present at the meeting wished to prevent development.
“No businessperson, their family or residents wish to oppose development in our town, nor do we want to lose this funding for Ballaghaderreen, however, at the end of the day, our businesses are our livelihoods. A number of businesses on the Square have been clear that they will not survive if this plan goes ahead in its current form – and I use the word plan loosely as we have seen nothing more than sketches.
“We will do everything we can to work with Roscommon County Council to see this funding spent well, but we need to see compromise, and all voices need to be heard. This is a very basic ask and we hope that this will happen in the days and weeks ahead,” he concluded.