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Crossmaglen will ‘come alive again’ with street cafés but must not come at expense of disabled

Crossmaglen Square Peter Hatzer
Crossmaglen Square pictured from above. Photo: Peter Hatzer

Crossmaglen – like many towns across our boroughs – will ‘come alive again’ with the introduction of street cafés but that must not come at the expense of an individual’s access or mobility.

Sinn Fein Councillor Aoife Finnegan said she cannot wait to see The Square in Crossmaglen bustling with businesses but issued a word of caution on how it is approached.

“I know lots of businesses across south Armagh will benefit from having this option and I cannot wait to see places like the Square in Crossmaglen come alive again, with people, families, and the community as a whole back together socialising and giving our local economy a good boost,” said Councillor Finnegan.

However, she added: “It’s important to get the economy moving again, but that must not come at the expense of restricting access or movement for individuals and particular disabled people.

“Adding more tables and chairs for outdoor eating could put people with disabilities or mobility problems at risk if they have to walk in the road, or force people to break social distancing rules to get past.

“Cluttered streets have been a problem for people with wheelchairs, buggies and those living with sight loss, however I believe that working together with all stakeholders and considering everyone in our society, we will get the right balance.”

Newry Mourne and Down Council this week agreed to the proposal which will allow the fees for street pavement café licences to be waived for 12 months and will fast trek the application process.

Councillor Finnegan, who has been working with businesses in the Crossmaglen area as they prepare to start their post Covid-19 recovery said it’s important to “get the economy moving again and introducing this initiative will help”.

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