SINN Féin councillor Tomás Sharkey has called for a compromise to be reached between residents on the Carrick Road and security officials at Oriel Park to ensure that people can access their homes comfortably on match nights.
Access to the Carrick Road is restricted whenever Dundalk FC are in action with the road even being closed in recent times during the club’s Setanta Sports Cup matches.
Huge security operations, which incorporate hundreds of Gardaí, have meant that residents living in the likes of Lis na Dara and Willow Grove are having problems coming and going from their homes on match nights and Cllr Sharkey admitted that he had been contacted by a handful of residents about the problem in recent weeks.
Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat about the matter, Cllr Sharkey said: “There has been mixed feedback from the community in that area.
“Some say it is a big imposition that they can’t walk into town. A lot of them say they don’t mind not taking their car on the nights there are matches but they should be able to walk into town if they wish to do so.
“I’d ask the FAI, Oriel Park and Gardaí to assess the security situation so far because we have to get over ourselves too and realise it’s not a Celtic-Rangers match on St Stephen’s Day.
“I know they have to err on the side of caution but locals should be able to get through if they wish.
“Some of the residents do say that it’s only on the odd occasion that they’re affected and that it’s good for the town to have the team there, which it is, but all we’re asking for is for the security to be lenient with those living in the general area.”
While match night restrictions result in divertions for people living as far away as the likes of Kilkerley and Carrickmacross, Cllr Sharkey says that the local community should be looked after most.
“The immediate locals and pedestrians are the ones who are most affected. At least those coming from further out the Carrick Road can follow the diversions before they ever get near Oriel Park.
“These events are well flagged in advance though and I feel a pedestrian pass for people who wish to walk into town on match nights would be a good compromise. There’s no reason why they can’t be given out to everyone living in the immediate area,” said Cllr Sharkey.