Vox Pop: Taking to the streets...
The trial pedestrianisation of Cavan Town on weekend evenings and Sunday afternoons has been extended, while council officials review its effectiveness. Reporter GEMMA GOOD took to the streets of the county town to gauge reaction on the ground so far...
Adel Henry, VIRGINIA
Adel Henry from Virginia does not think the pedestrianisation of Cavan Town is a good idea. As a mother of three, she said it is “hard enough getting around town without having been told to park far away”.
“With young kids it’s not feasible,” she said.
She viewed the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ scheme from another point of view, acknowledging that “it is nice” for some groups of people.
“I’m not going to be going out in the evening times to benefit from it at all.”
Adel doesn’t see the need for the scheme, mentioning “there’s not that much traffic in Cavan Town during the evenings”.
She feels that, even with a buggy, there is plenty of space for people to walk around the town.
“There’s footpaths both sides so there’s enough room for everyone to get by, it’s never crazy busy.”
James McArdle, Ballyhaise
James McArdle from Ballyhaise is in favour of the pedestrianisation plan.
“We’re not allowed into the pubs because of the virus so I think it’s a great idea that pubs are still able to operate outdoors.”
He said closing off the town at the weekends is not a “big issue”.
James was in the town with his friends during the pedestrianised times and said he thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It was very quiet as well, which is good sometimes,” he said.
James was visibly delighted when he heard Cavan County Council plans to continue the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ initiative for further weekends.
“That’s good,” he enthused, looking forward to more time socialising in the town.
Brigid Reynolds, Killeshandra
Brigid Reynolds from Killeshandra is unsure if the scheme is a good idea.
“It depends on what you want from your town,” she said, mentioning that “often more touristy towns are pedestrianised”.
“I know they were looking to get Cavan pedestrianised to make it better for tourists,” she said, explaining the initiative was put in place to make Cavan “a jewel of the midlands.”
“Personally it probably wouldn’t mean one thing or the other to me,” she said.
The pedestrianised times, 7-11pm on Friday and Saturday and 3-9pm on Sunday, do not suit her with young kids.
“I wouldn’t be in the town during that time period,” she admitted.
Brigid added that she would usually park along the street as she prefers to “walk from place to place anyway”.
She said further pedestrianisation shouldn’t be an issue as long as the town can still be easily accessed by those with disabilities.
Hailing from the Killeshandra countryside, she said: “I don’t know how much it would actually affect those that are in the town.”
Jackie Little , Cavan
Jackie Little who lives in Cavan Town thinks the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ pilot pedestrianisation scheme is an excuse for people to drink on the streets.
“It’s just a pact where everyone can start drinking out more on the streets,” she said.
Jackie claims to have witnessed “ones falling around the street” at the weekends.
She thinks the pedestrianisation is an inconvenience to people wishing to enter the town.
“For you to go to any of the shops or the takeaway, you have to go right around and park at the top of the town and walk the whole way down.”
“It can’t do any harm,” was Robert Finn’s response to the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ initiative.
He said the programme aids vintners who were forced to close their doors due to the pandemic.
“The pubs that have been affected by the lockdown during Covid can open up onto the streets.”
He said this makes socialisation in Cavan Town “a bit safer”.
Robert supports the continued pedestrianisation at the weekends, mentioning that he has availed of the scheme to date.
“I have been in the town at the weekends,” he said.
He feels that the pedestrianisation should be advertised more to boost visitors and tourism.
“A couple of weeks ago they had some guy on a giant bicycle and stilts and stuff like that.
“I wasn’t aware that was happening until I looked up,” he laughed.
Thomas Clarke, Cavan
Living in the town, Thomas Clarke is strongly opposed to Cavan County Council’s plan. He made the observation that tighter safety measures need to be put in place.
“You don’t see any guards, there’s nobody patrolling the place.”
Thomas is a bouncer himself and explained that, by law, pubs must have security within their indoor area and their outdoor area.
“They’re not allowed to mix,” he added.
Thomas doesn’t understand why the town isn’t better policed during the pedestrianised times. He witnessed the guards sitting in their car for short periods of time.
“They won’t get out of the car and patrol the place,” he contended.
“Everybody else is out killing each other on the street and they won’t go into them sections.
“It’s like no man’s land for them.”
He said the pedestrianisation is “completely stupid”.
Thomas referenced the older generation in the town, mentioning his own father, in particular.
“At seventy five years of age, he has to walk right up through the town through them drunken people.”
He said the scheme is putting people in a “dangerous position”.
With the continuation of the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ scheme, Thomas thinks the council should reconsider the areas of the town that are pedestrianised.
“They haven’t got it closed off where the busiest ends of the town are,” he said.
Standing on the Market Square in Cavan town, Thomas gave an alternative solution.
He said a band could put on a “little show” on a Saturday or Sunday. They could be placed in the back corner of the square, which would allow plenty of space for social distancing.
“They did it a while back in Con Smith park,” he said, explaining the show only lasted an hour, which was enough time to allow people to enjoy themselves.
“You can get back into the car then and drive off or you can go up with your mates and have a pint.
“They’re doing everything completely wrong,” he opined.
Bridie Lee was sitting out on the square enjoying the sunshine with her sister-in-law Mary.
“We have arthritis in our knees,” she said, explaining they often get a taxi into town.
“They couldn’t stop where we wanted them to stop,” she said.
The taxi dropped the women off at the taxi rank, meaning they had to walk into the shops.
“We had to walk up and that’s not right either,” she said, explaining they found this “difficult.”
The women said the pedestrianisation plan for Cavan is a bad idea.
“Everyone thinks it’s a bad idea.”
“I don’t see any point in it,” said Mary.
“What are they gaining by it?” Bridie asked. “I don’t think it should be closed,” she concluded.
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