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Handrail plans are a ‘good idea for everyone’

A new handrail will be erected at the junction of Bridge Street and Main Street.

THE family of a Strabane pensioner who sustained considerable injuries after slipping and falling at the junction of Bridge Street and Main Street, has welcomed plans for a new pedestrian handrail.

Arthur McLaughlin was knocked unconscious in the incident last month and was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where he received five stitches for a wound on his head. He was also badly bruised all over his body.

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However following the fall – which is Mr McLaughlin’s second in the past few months at the same spot – his family called for a handrail to be installed on the steep footpath incline.

This week a local MLA revealed that Transport NI has confirmed that plans are already afoot to have the handrail running along the often treacherous footpath.

“I think it’s a good idea for everyone concerned,” Mr McLaughlin’s daughter Terri O’Donnell remarked.

“It’s a bit late in coming but it’s still a good idea and I think it’ll help people.”

However according to Terri, her 82-year-old father has still not completely recovered from his previous tumble.

“He’s just not himself yet,” she continued.

“He’s a bit more forgetful at times but at the end of the day, at least he’s up and about and walking again and the bruising is practically gone.”

She added, “I’m glad this is now happening. It is ridiculous to think a slope like that didn’t have a handrail but now that it’s happening, happy days.”

The development was also welcomed by West Tyrone MLA, Michaela Boyle, who petitioned Transport NI over the accident blackspot.

“On initial contact the Transport NI, I was told that the gradient on the footpath is within the standard required but asked that a joint meeting be facilitated with Derry City and Strabane District

Council to re-assess this and subsequently I wrote to chief executive John Kelpie requesting that a joint approach be taken to try and resolve this issue.

“I therefore very much welcome confirmation from council that this joint agency site meeting has now taken place and that as a result, Transport NI are content to install a handrail on this corner similar to the rail installed across the street to address a similar issue. The rail would be fixed to the pavement and provide support to pedestrians along the extent of the slope.”

At the time of going to press, no-one from Transport NI was available to comment.

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