ATHLONE has found itself at the centre of things in more ways than one after a massive European/Chinese trading hub was given the green light.
Like every odd Irish construction project, the wags are already coming up with nicknames, with the Great Mall of China the early favourite.
It's the biggest exotic edifice to come out of Athlone since Mary O'Rourke and is planned for a 127-hectare site at Creggan, 2km outside the Westmeath town.
The idea is to build massive exhibition halls to allow Chinese businesses to trade their wares in the EU. Opponents of the scheme say it will be 14 times the size of Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown shopping centres combined.
Now there's a little bit of China in Athlone, why should they stop there? Let's just give them the whole country. We could make it the national equivalent of the 'jingle mall', where you send your keys back to the bank because you can't pay your mortgage.
So what about Beijingle mall ... the only problem is we'll have to find another country to mess up!
Sunday Indo Living