Opposition continues to ‘€8m plan’ for Strokestown

Murphy defends his position

A number of protesters gathered outside the Roscommon County Council building in Roscommon town on Wednesday to express their unhappiness over aspects of the planned €8 million redevelopment of Strokestown. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Last Sunday, June 2nd, approximately 200 residents of Strokestown and its hinterland gathered for a peaceful demonstration at Bawn Street, in the historically significant Roscommon town which is home to the National Famine Museum.

Since its foundation, Strokestown has always claimed to have the widest streets in Ireland and when first founded Strokestown undisputedly held the title of having the widest streets in Europe.

The 200 or so demonstrators who gathered on Sunday in the north Roscommon town heard from a number of speakers including candidates for the upcoming elections and sitting public representatives.

Contributions from residents focused largely on their dissatisfaction with the current ‘public realm enhancement plan’ and what they see as the lack of real consultation by Roscommon County Council.

According to those who spoke, the project which has recently been awarded almost €8 million in funding will severely restrict current parking capacity by as much as 80-90%, something which local businesses in particular feel will be detrimental to their survival.

Raucous scenes erupted when Strokestown-based Fianna Fáil senator Eugene Murphy spoke to the crowd, with one local heckling him. Senator Murphy reached out to the Roscommon People to “set the record straight” on his opinions of the plan.

“I do accept there are a lot of people with concerns. I myself have constantly said from day one that there is something special about those wide streets and the residents feel the same”.

Continuing his comments to the Roscommon People this week, Senator Murphy said he has been warning people about the plan for over a decade: “However, about 14 years ago a plan called the Shaffrey Report was presented to the public in Strokestown. I immediately said this is not on.

“I informed residents and businesses that this plan would destroy the look of the town. I stated at the time that the plan was trying to reinvent a Victorian-style town. Sadly nobody took any heed and to be honest I felt I was banging my head off a wall.

“I want to be clear. Roscommon County Council did not present that plan and the people who presented the Plan were very sincere but it was not a right plan.

“I don’t believe we should lose the money but if some commitments were given on the parking spaces I would be happy.

“The new plan could cause difficulties for the running of the Agricultural Show and the Easter Parade”.