As attempts to make Ballyshannon’s town clock safe have been put on hold for a second day due to unsuitable weather conditions, local traders have expressed disappointment that the diversions to traffic cannot be lifted.
“Obviously traders are not happy, it’s something we thought would have been long sorted out at this stage,” said Donagh Keon, a member of Ballyshannon Business Chamber. “Businesses are open and traded today, but the street needs to be re-opened,” he added.
Traders had hoped for a speedy resolution to the problem and several have contacted the Donegal Democrat to express their annoyance that the Main Street remains closed to traffic with diversions in place.
One trader, who asked not to be named, told the Democrat that the continued closure of the Main Street to through traffic had “been a disaster” for him on Saturday. “We have been very, very quiet today as a result of the road being closed to traffic, this wouldn’t have happened in Bundoran, they would never have allowed their Main Street to be closed,” he said.
A specialist crane arrived in Ballyshannon’s Market Yard area on Friday but because of strong winds it was deemed unsafe to begin any work to make the clock face safe. It was pointed out that wind speeds at ground level and at 100 feet where the work has to be done can be very different.
It’s hoped that if wind speeds fall on Sunday that an attempt may be made to use the crane and render the clock safe.
However, until such time as this happens the Main Street below remains closed to vehicular traffic, although pedestrians have been allowed to use a footpath on the Saimer Shopping Centre side of the street.
Ballyshannon Town Council posted the following statement on their Facebook site on Saturday evening:
“Council staff have reviewed the situation again today (Sat) and the position remains the same, therefore the street will remain closed. Weather conditions have prevented the crane operating yesterday or today, however as soon as conditions improve the crane will operate and the site will be left safe. We are in constant contact with all parties involved. All businesses are open. Thank you all for your patience in this regard.”
The problem first arose on Thursday evening last when damage to the south face of the iconic Ballyshannon Town clock, which dates back to 1878, was noticed by a passer by who called the emergency services. Strong winds or a possible lightening strike had caused the face of the clock looking south to the Erne River to split and since that time sections of the clock face which are made up of porcelain and steel appear to be held in place only by the hour and minute hands of the clock.