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Older residents in parts of Ennis “feeling very isolated”

OLDER residents of Ennis are “feeling very isolated” because of the condition of footpaths during cold spells, a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District has heard.
The growing numbers of people enjoying the outdoors during the latest lock-down has prompted calls on the local authority to ensure footpaths are safe and salted during cold spells.
Councillor Ann Norton raised the issue at a recent meeting of the local authority where she pointed out that there are now many people out walking as Covid restrictions are preventing people from going outside of 5km.
“I’m asking the Ennis Municipal District to make sure that footpaths are safe and maintained and with cold icy weather that footpaths are salted where possible to prevent accidents.”
Eamon O’Dea, senior engineer, responded, “As cold spells in Ireland are normally of short duration it is difficult to structure a maintenance schedule for footpath salting or gritting. Where cold weather conditions prevail the key access point within the town and steeper sloped footpaths around the town are salted or gritted. It would be very difficult to make sure that footpaths were safe as there are finite resources available and the larger gritting trucks would be on a strict rotation for scheduled gritting under the Council’s Winter Maintenance Programme.”
The councillor stated that she understood the position of the council, and she urged people out walking in cold and icy conditions to be “cautious and conscious of the fact some areas don’t get sun light and to be safe while out walking”.
The motion was seconded by Councillor Johnny Flynn who stated this is a “serious issue”. He said that he is aware of a number of elderly residents of older housing estates in the town who “are feeling very isolated and trapped in their houses because of the condition of the footpaths. Anything that can be done, even if it is one day’s gritting it could give a couple of days of protection.”

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