A Fine Gael councillor’s call to erect a picnic table and benches at a green area next to Dillon Bridge in Carrickbeg was shot down by a council colleague representing that area of the town, who argued it would only further encourage the anti-social behaviour that has blighted the scenic spot.
Cllr Margaret Croke tabled a motion at the Town Council’s July meeting urging the Council to provide a litter bin, picnic table and benches along the river bank in front of the water treatment plant in Carrickbeg after observing cars pull into the green area during some recent good weather.
“It would make a perfect picnic area as it looks onto the castle and river. I would hope funding would be obtained from the Council’s Block Grant for this,” she told the meeting.
But Fianna Fail Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan said she was totally opposed to the proposal. “We have had wicked anti-social behaviour with people drinking down there all the time. You are on the wrong page, you are only going to give those people the excuse to do down there. No family I know of would go down there.”
She recounted observing four cars full of young people with a many slabs of alcohol parked at the green area, which they left in a mess. She had constantly requested that the gates into this green area be closed at night.
When Labour Cllr Sarah Dunne suggested the Council just erect a litter bin at the spot, Cllr Cooney-Sheehan responded rubbish would be burned in it.
Independent Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin agreed with Cllr Cooney-Sheehan’s concerns. “Ideally it would be lovely to have seating there but my experience from speaking to the people of Carrickbeg is that it’s the last thing they would want so I can’t support the motion,” he said.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien said the Council considered developing that area into a park in the past but there was significant opposition to the project. He pointed out that the Council didn’t have the money to turn it into a park now even if it wanted to do so.
“When money becomes available we can look at (installing) a litter bin,” he added.