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Heather Humphreys at the official opening of the River Fergus Walk. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Dog foulers should be ‘shamed’

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ENNIS local councillors are crying foul over irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their pets while walking along the popular River Fergus Walkway. Meanwhile, users of the amenity who have reported flooding on the route, have been reminded that the walkway was created on a flood plain as part of flood relief works to protect the town.
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) made a request for ‘doggie poop’ bins to be provided along the walkway at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District council.
However, while the local authority in conjunction with Clarecastle Tidy Towns has recently installed anti-litter and anti-dog fouling signage on the walkway, the council have said they are not in a position to install bins.
“We would have difficulty servicing this site at this time, given the distance from our normal street cleaning and litter bin maintenance route,” said Paddy Tiernan, A/Senior Executive Engineer.
“We would appeal to all users of this fantastic walkway to take their litter home and for dog owners to act responsibly.”
Councillor Colleran Molloy commented that people who do not clean up after their dogs are “not good citizens”. The councillor had also sought a review of entry points to the route to determine how best to address the needs of people on wheelchairs to access the walkway.
“It appears that the Clareabbey entry is too steep and there is no availability for parking at the Quin Road entry point.”
Mr Tiernan responded that the Ennis Municipal District recently installed safety gates at the Quin Road end of this walkway.
This project was funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Community Recognition Fund 2023.
“A primary objective of the project was to reduce the likelihood of children running directly onto the road from the walkway,” he said.
“During the design of the gates, we liaised extensively with a member of the disabled community in order to ensure this end of the walkway would be fully accessible to all users including those in wheelchairs. We are glad to report that this objective was achieved.
“Unfortunately, the existing topography and difference in ground levels at the Clareabbey end of the walkway pose difficulties from a wheelchair accessibility point of view. The installation of a wheelchair access that would be compliant with modern standards would be extremely costly. It would prove very difficult to develop a business case to secure the level of funding required especially considering the walkway is fully accessible from the Quin Road end. We would recommend wheelchair users continue to the access from Quin Road.
“With regard to parking – specific parking for the walkway has not been provided at the Quin Road entrance. However, there are multiple parking options in both private and public locations within a couple of hundred meters of the entrance. The walkway can be easily accessed on foot from any of these locations using existing public footpaths.”
Ms Colleran Molloy said that the Ennis Flood Relief Scheme led to the creation of the walkway.
“It is interesting to hear people saying they see flooding, but that is because it is a flood plain,” she said.
“I am concerned to hear some people are jumping on the metal barricade and walking on it to get over to the other side of water pooling.”
Councillor Paul Murphy (FG) emphasised the importance of accessibility, while also describing the route as a “fantastic amenity”.
“It is built on a flood plain and it does flood a certain percentage of the year,” he said.
Councillor Tom O’Callaghan (FF) complimented the council and community of Clarecastle. He said he was “disappointed” that the council are not in a position to install bins. He said that people are leaving bags filled with dog waste “tied to the fence”. “It’s not acceptable. If the bins are not there they will continue to soil this beautiful walkway,” he said.
Councillor Johnny Flynn (FG) said he believes ponding can be alleviated using engineering solutions. Councillor Mary Howard (FG) recalled when dog poo bins and bag dispensers were installed in Lee’s Road saying they had to be put close together to encourage people to use them.
“There is no accounting for people,” she said.
Mayor of Ennis Councillor Pat Daly (FF) described the walk and cycleway as “great”, suggesting that parking for people with disabilities could be installed under the bridge at the Clareabbey side.
Councillor Colleran Molloy concluded, “The flood defence system is working, keeping water away from people’s homes and sometimes there is ponding on the walkway, it was put on a flood plain. I cannot accept we cannot provide dog poo bins,” saying those who leave dog waste on the route “shouldn’t be doing it and should be shamed” adding, “this is not good for dogs and our community at large.”

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