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Green Light for O'Connor Square Plan

10th August 2017

Camilla McLoughlin

A DECISION has finally been reached on the number of car parking spaces for O'Connor Square as part of the Town Enhancement Plan.

Following a meeting of councillors held last Friday, August 4, which was not attended by Councillors Tommy McKeigue or Brendan Killeavy, it was decided to allow 34 spaces in the square with two more along the Tanyard, adjacent to the library.

The agreement comes following 18 months of debate, during which 20 drawings for the square were introduced.

Work on the town centre under the €3 million enhancement project could not proceed until a plan for O'Connor Square was agreed by councillors.

At a previous council meeting, held on August 31, councillors rejected option 20 for O'Connor Square, presented by architects Kenny Lyons, which provided 33 spaces and instead favoured a design submitted by the O'Connor Square - Tanyard Group of business people which provided 40 spaces.

Councillors also requested Town Manager, Sean Murray to seek a further drawing, which he refused.

This led to Cllr Tommy McKeigue calling for a plebiscite which would give it over to the people of the town to decide.

Cllr McKeigue says he is happy that the matter has been settled. It will now go out for public consultation for eight weeks before tendering can begin.

''We will try to reinstate some of the features, now that it's settled, like the water feature and the lighting. The war monument will have to be relocated. That is there 100 years,'' said Cllr McKeigue.

''I hope this is a catalyst for the development of Tullamore into the future and will revitalise the town. The whole town centre is part of that redevelopment including the bridge onto Main Street. I hope the local contractors tender for this €3 million contract. It will be a springboard for jobs. It looks like early next year before work will start on it and it could take 18 months to complete,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Cllr Brendan Killeavy, who was not aware a decision had been made, said the reason he didn't attend the meeting was because he had already made his opinion known. which was the option for 27 spaces.

''It has been going on for 18 months. There was no point attending workshops outside of council meetings. I already attended three and I knew the majority of councillors which are Fianna Fail would have to agree. I made my stance known the same as Cllr Tommy McKeigue. "

"I always believed there should have been a compromise. Unfortunately I think the true potential of the square will not be realised. A handful of car parking spaces is not going to make a huge difference to businesses in Tullamore,'' he concluded.

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