Portlaoise Cllr Willie Aird “hangs his head” in shame every time he sees a senior citizen or a wheelchair user trying to cross Fr Browne Avenue, beside O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.
“We are ignoring people. It’s terrible to see senior citizens standing in the middle of a busy road. I’m answerable for that as a public representative. This is one of the busiest stadiums. We granted planning permission for one of the biggest shopping developments with underground parking, and still there is no pedestrian crossing. How was that granted? I won’t support any budget unless a crossing is put there,” he said, speaking at the May meeting of Portlaoise municipal district.
He asked the local authority to put a pedestrian crossing on the avenue, but was told there is an existing “uncontrolled crossing” in place, with drop kerbs. An investigation will be done on the need for a controlled crossing.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald seconded his call, asking for another crossing on the Abbeyleix road at SuperValu.
“I use it regularly and it’s a very dangerous area. We want to encourage people to walk. I brought in a letter for people who can’t get across the road, and that’s not today or yesterday, if you cross the road you are taking your life in your hands,” she said.
Cllr Mary Sweeney agreed.
“I’ve witnessed a person struggling to get across that road. We are making O’Moore Park a centre of excellence, but it’s a disgrace there is no crossing on Fr Browne or on the Abbeyleix road, it’s embarrassing, it beggars belief how it got planning,” she said.
Director of Services Kieran Kehoe will be asked to prioritise new controlled crossings.