Traffic problems and poor driving skills in Athlone town centre.

A clip from 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly' in which an actor reads a letter to programme presenter Frank Hall, commenting on the lack of parking available in Athlone Town, and bemoaning the absence of driving skills among local motorists. 

The author of the letter begins by commenting on the visit the programme team had made to Athlone a month earlier, when Frank Hall had interviewed local councillor and bus driver Frank Waters about building up trade links between Ireland and Russia. 

On your recent trip to Athlone, yourself and Frank Waters were too busy peeping over the iron curtain to take notice of the traffic conditions in Athlone.  Although I heard you were roarin’ like a bull inside in your car, because you couldn’t find a place to park.

It appears that drivers in Athlone town are not too bothered by the proliferation of double yellow lines and No Parking signs,  

Most of the drivers around Athlone haven’t yet moved out of the ass and cart era.  They get out of their cars and leave them there, as if they expected them to find their own way into a yard or field somewhere to graze. The main streets of Athlone are plastered with yellow lines, double yellow lines, and No Parking signs.  What good are they?  The only time you can see them is on Sundays when there’s little traffic about.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a proposal to install traffic lights and one-way streets will apparently come to nothing, as according to the gentleman writer, drastic measures would be required to enforce a parking system in Athlone,

Frank Waters is talking about trying to persuade the Russians to open factories in Athlone.  Well I can tell you this, if he lets them get a glimpse of the parking system in the town, the first thing they’ll do is to send for the Red Army to clear the streets.

This excerpt from an episode of ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ was broadcast on 13 June 1972.  

Frank Hall's amusing and satirical series began on 29 September 1971 with the full title ‘Hall's Pictorial Weekly Incorporating the Provincial Vindicator’ which became known as ‘Hall's Pictorial Weekly’. The series allowed Frank Hall to follow his own interest in the lives of viewers throughout the country.

Regarded as RTÉ's flagship comedy show, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy sketches, re-edited videos, cartoons and spoof television formats. The show ran for 9 series until 1980.

In the RTÉ Guide on the week of its first transmission, Frank Hall wrote "the form and content of Hall's Pictorial Weekly should be impossible to forecast until the last moment. It should be as varied and absorbing as life itself". He further commented "I have an inexhaustible interest in the lives and times of the people who live in our country towns and villages; no event is too small to capture my attention, no community too out of the way...This programme is intended to be about you, your town, your friends, your local interests." (RTÉ Guide, September 24, 1971, Vol.8, No.9, p.2)