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Call for clarity on Clare paths and trailways funding

CLARITY on a schedule of works for footpaths in East Clare has been sought by Councillor Joe Cooney. Addressing the most recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, the Fine Gael member called on the local authority to outline the footpaths programme for 2021.

“We don’t know yet the housing developments which are to have their paths fixed this year,” he outlined. “In some cases, the estates are between 40 and 60 years old. Many of them have paths which need upgrading. I have previously invested my General Municipal Allocation (GMA) funding and I would have no problem doing it again. I’m thinking of the likes of Beechwood Lawn in Bodyke and areas in O’Callaghan’s Mills and Hillcrest Grove in Kilkishen.”

Councillor Cooney also asked whether the walking trail from Killaloe will be connected to Tuamgraney. “Fantastic work has already been done,” he noted. “There is a section still to be done as you come down the hill from Raheen. I’m aware that funding is required and it would really make a great job of this project if this section could be finished to connect Killaloe and Tuamgraney. The works done to-date are a great credit to all.”

The motion was seconded by Councillor Alan O’Callaghan. “It is a constant battle to upgrade paths,” he said. “We’re getting there though. There is also an important message that we need to get out that, where possible, people shouldn’t park on paths. HGVs, in particular, are putting stress on paths. I would appeal to drivers to stay off them for the sake of keeping the access open and for the condition of the paths.”

Giving his support to the motion, Councillor Pat Burke said that members and officials had planned to meet in Tuamgraney to look at the potential for completing the last section of the pathway from Killaloe. “It’s possible to walk from Killaloe to the outskirts of Tuamgraney and it would be great to see the path completed,” he said. “There is a hard shoulder as far as the church and ball alley, but not a footpath and the last section of path needs to be joined up.”

Cathaoirleach, Councillor Pat Hayes also gave full support to the motion. “The Active Travel Fund has been a Godsend in terms of getting paths done,” he said. “It is very beneficial and I’d be hopeful that we can get the housing estate paths done.” In relation to the completion of the walkway from Killaloe to Tuamgraney, Councillor Hayes said: “We will arrange a meeting on-site and if it’s a funding issue, we’ll pursue funding options.”

Senior Executive Officer (SEO) Morgan Lahiffe referred to a written response from Senior Executive Engineer (SEE) Niamh Madden which said the list of housing developments where paths will be improved this year is being drawn up. In relation to the link from Killaloe to Tuamgraney, which is one of the Lough Derg Blueway trails, Mr Morgan said: “It is important to note that we did all the work that was planned as well as an additional 50 metres. There is connectivity to the village of Tuamgraney, but we acknowledge councillors’ concerns. I believe the Active Travel Fund will be multi-annual and this project is a definite candidate for funding in 2022.”

Councillor Cooney thanked officials for their reply and complimented the additional works done on the Killaloe to Tuamgraney trail.

A written response to Councillor Cooney’s motion from Ms Madden said: “Clare County Council is currently in the process of finalising the list of housing developments within the Killaloe Municipal District, where improvement works, subject to budget, will be carried out in 2021. It is also proposed to construct areas of new footpath infrastructure in Tulla, Kilmurray, Quin, Clarisford in Killaloe, Dromandoora and Crusheen this year. The Killaloe Municipal District will examine the various funding streams to ascertain what might be most suitable to extend the new walking trail to Tuamgraney in the future. Presently, walkers can exit this trail at the junction of the R463 and the Ballyvanin Road and continue walking along a further existing trail, which connects to Tuamgraney just south of St. Cronan’s Church.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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