The “denial of a much-needed” bus shelter is leaving residents in a Bessbrook community extremely frustrated.
Newry Mourne & Down councillor Roisin Mulgrew has said that the ongoing saga of the Cloughreagh bus shelter issue has caused huge anger amongst many residents living there.
The Sinn Féin representative explained: “For over two years the simple issue of providing a bus shelter within Cloughreagh has been mismanaged, manipulated and used as a political football by some councillors.
“Even at this late stage I would appeal to those councillors who are denying this shelter to visit the area and talk openly and honestly with local residents, particularly those availing of the bus service, to hear their views.”
Councillor Mulgrew continued: “When contacted by older residents of the Cloughreagh/JFK area asking for
bus shelter I forwarded request to relevant department.
“The full and transparent assessment process then followed with full approval being given to install the shelter over a year ago.
“It was only when the installation of the shelter had started that a local resident objected.
“These concerns and objections were taken seriously, thoroughly explored and accommodation sought.
“Ultimately the vast majority of local people viewed that the bus shelter was urgently needed at that specific site and there was no fear of any potential adverse impact like anti-social behaviour taking place at it.
“All that was wanted by those requesting the bus shelter was exactly that.
“A much-needed facility sited centrally, safely and sensibility to accommodate the many local people particularly the elderly who avail of bus services.”
The elected representative stated that the most recent Public Meeting on the issue overwhelmingly endorsed the erection of the bus shelter at the original central site.
“A public meeting was held on May 24 in Cloughreagh Community Crntre and overwhelming support was given for it to be replaced at original site,” she said.
“This has been denied to them by councillors from other political groupings who seem intent on frustrating and dividing this community.
“Residents also asked for survey to be done on residents beyond 50-metre radius to get full picture, again this has been denied to them.
“It is now being considered that two shelters at Oak Close and community centre be installed however, these have to go through consultation process.
“Early feedback is that these sites are not what residents want, and will not be supported. That will result in no approval being given, further community division and the bus shelter request back at square one again.”
Concluding, the councillor said that the issue was not going to go away.
“The denial of a much needed facility and the ongoing saga has caused huge frustration and anger,” added councillor Mulgrew.
“They believe that for some reason whether vindictive or personal there are councillors determined to deny them this bus shelter.
“As a local representative I have worked relentlessly with local groups, families and individuals to help build the unity, self-esteem and confidence of the Cloughreagh and John F Kennedy community and I will continue to do so.”
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.