BIG READ: Stand-off over right of way in Bagenalstown as residents are divided on issue

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Darren Hassett

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The matter came up at this month's meeting of Bagenalstown Municipal District

A stand-off has emerged over the potential extinguishment of a right of way in Bagenalstown as residents are divided on the issue. 

The matter came up at this month's meeting of Bagenalstown Municipal District when members were to discuss the extinguishment of a right of way at the lane from St Brigid's Crescent to Soldiers Cottages (Kilree Cottages). 

Area engineer, Jerry Crowley, told members that 21 residents in the area had signed a petition to close off the laneway over some anti-social behaviour issues. 

However, since then, another petition has been received from 71 residents who want to keep the laneway open for easy access to the town, schools and the shops. 

Mr Crowley told members that he was "unsure on how to proceed".

Cllr Arthur McDonald called for a plebiscite amongst the locals to determine how to proceed. Cllr Andy Gladney described it as a "no win situation" and a "bit of a dilemma".

He said there had been houses broken and a lot of old people were living in the area, a shovel was used to break in the front window of one house in the early hours of the morning. 

Cllr Willie Quinn said based on the petitions they would be "going against democracy" to extinguish the right of way. 

Mr Crowley suggested a meeting with residents but Cllr Gladney said there "wouldn't be an agreement". 

Cllr Gladney suggested the Council go through the process to extinguish the right of way and advertise it and see what people submit. 

Director of Services, Dan McInerney, said the local authority would look at engineering solutions to stop the anti-social behaviour.

He also advised that people objecting to the extinguishment of a right of way can ask for an oral hearing and the whole thing is an "expensive process". 

Mr Crowley suggested putting a gate in there and lock it at night but then there was the question of who would lock it and unlock it. 

Cllr Michael Doran said he would be cautious about blocking up the lane as he "thinks it's worse to create dead-ends". 

Mr Crowley said he would look at "various engineering solutions to the problem".