Seats on planters in centre of Mullingar are 'ridiculous'

The seats attached to the planters in Mullingar town centre as part of the enhancement are “ridiculous”, one councillor has claimed, while another has expressed disappointment that trees removed as part of the enhancement process have not been replaced.

At the July meeting of the Mullingar Kinnegad Municipal District, Cllr Hazel Smyth said that she had reservations about the design of the seating and even more reservations about the failure to replace missing trees.

“I’ve been approached by many people about this that it’s really not suitable – particularly for older people.

“They are not comfortable; they are not safe,” she said stating that the seating around town really needed to be looked at.

Support came from Cllr Frank McDermott: “I don’t know whether the seats along the planters are designed in such a way that they can’t be used.

“I think they’re ridiculous,” he said adding that someone came along with a cup of coffee and a phone they couldn’t leave neither object down because the seats were so slanted.

“I think it’s a disaster,” he said.

Responding, council official Pat Keating said that the design for the seating had been devised by the consultants.

He admitted that while he had been surprised by the design initially, his view now was that “it works”, and he said so additional seating have been added by the council since then.

On the subject of the trees, executive engineer Pat Kavanagh explained that the planters are mobile and so can be moved out of the way during events such as the all-Ireland fleadh.

Mr Kavanagh also went on to explain that growing trees on street can be unwise as there isn’t enough soil under the pavements and so the roots begin to affect the pavement surfaces, which can lead to the problem of slips and trips.

Cllr Smyth argued that they would provide shade and help improve air quality levels locally: “I would strongly ask the council to reconsider,” she said.

Cllr Denis Leonard felt the wisest course would be to keep deciduous trees out of the town centre and instead to use evergreens, which will provide green colour all year round.

He pointed out that there are plenty of deciduous trees in the town park and people can go there if they wish to enjoy the shade. Furthermore, he added, it was not far to the countryside.

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