Councillors row over Rochfortbridge bus stop

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 8th September, 2010 4:30pm

Councillors row over Rochfortbridge bus stop

The chairman of Westmeath County Council’s Kilbeggan area has criticised a fellow councillor for calling a public meeting in Rochfortbridge and failing to invite other councillors to attend.

During a stormy debate on whether Rochfortbridge’s bus stop should be moved further eastwards, Kilbeggan Area chairman, Cllr. Ger Corcoran said that many people did not know where it was proposed that the town’s bus stop should be located.

Disagreeing, Cllr. Colm Arthur said that there was no reason for anyone in Rochfortbridge not to know where the proposed new location for the bus stop was, as a public meeting had been called on the issue.

Cllr. Corcoran agreed there had been a public meeting - but he wasn’t entirely happy about it.

“You didn’t invite your fellow councillors, which I think, should have been done,” Cllr. Corcoran said to Cllr. Arthur.

The question of where the busstop should be located proved surprisingly contentious, and at one point, councillors wound up sitting in silence for almost a minute as Cllrs. Corcoran, Arthur and Daly each proposed differing solutions to the issue and refused to budge, with Cllr. Joe Flanagan opting not to take sides on the issue.

Cllr. Paul Daly’s stance was that the bus stop should be left where it is; Cllr. Arthur argued that it should be moved eastwards, and Cllr. Corcoran argued that there hadn’t been enough discussion on the issue.

In the end - as happened at the members’ last meeting, in July, a decision on the issue was deferred - but this time only for a week, to allow for the plans to go on display locally. The Councillors have called a special meeting for Monday of next week, September 13, to nail the issue once and for all, but it’s clear the issue is one that is more divisive than one would imagine likely.

In the debate on the issue, Cllr. Corcoran said he had no objection to a new bus stop for the east of Rochfortbridge - but that he would like to see the existing town centre bus stop also kept in place.

“I don’t believe there has been sufficient discussion with people in Rochfortbridge on location,” he said, adding that he had “solid information” that many local people didn’t know where it was proposed to move the bus stop to.

Cllr. Joe Flanagan - the longest-standing member of the committee, told his fellow councillors that this question was “a hardy annual” and that a decision on it had been deferred several times.

He pointed out that a decision now was being sought just as Bus Éireann announced its intention of halving the frequency of its buses aong the N6.

“While it would be great to see two bus stops in Rochfortbridge, it’s getting to the stage where it would be great to see one in it!” he said.

He concluded by appealing to locals to put their heads together and resolve the question.