Concern about the negative impact “poor infrastructure” is having on tourists and residents in Killaloe was expressed by local traders at a meeting with county councillors last week.
Members of the Killaloe/Ballina Business Association (KBBA) met with Councillor Joe Cooney, Pat Burke and Councillor Cathal Crowe to discuss a number of problems with roads, lighting and footpaths in the cathedral town at a meeting in Flanagan’s Bar.
In a recent letter to Killaloe Electoral Area councillors, KBBA chairman John O’Shea urged the council to seriously consider reducing commercial rates as some businesses are on the “brink of closure”.
Mr O’Shea requested a new cooperative effort between the council and the traders’ association to make the town viable, open for business and to create sustainable employment for young people.
Expressing concern about the deteriorating state of the road on the bridge linking the two communities, he claimed there seemed to be a trend to dig up roads for repairs, piping and rewiring, leaving uneven surfaces with a patchwork of repair.
He highlighted the narrow and dangerous state of footpaths, particularly at the end of the Main Street and Royal Parade.
“I would invite the council members to drive and walk the streets and see the poor quality of our infrastructure for tourists and locals.
“Killaloe is one of the major tourist destinations in the Clare area. Our tourists seem to be aware of the beauty and charm of this area but as they drive or walk through Killaloe, they leave with a very poor impression of what we have to offer.
“We need to improve the quality of our town so that our international reputation will not be tarnished by the quality of roads, footpaths and street lighting,” he stated.
Speaking at a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting, senior executive engineer Seán Lenihan pointed out he would be in a better position to respond to the issues raised once local authority funding was confirmed for the coming year.
“I will then revert to the members on each of the relevant points made and would be hoping to be in a position to do so in the coming week.
“In the meantime, the areas mentioned will be maintained as necessary and as required within the limits of our maintenance budget,” Mr Lenihan stated.
Councillor Crowe warned that things were coming to a head for this group who had highlighted deficiencies with roads, lights and footpaths.
“The council need to be conscious that these are rate payers and be cognisant of the revenue that Killaloe businesses bring in and we must ensure that we give them a good standard of infrastructure to work with going forward. Even if we were to increase the wattage of the lights,” he said.
He proposed that funding should be ring-fenced for improving infrastructure in Killaloe out of the development contributions and commercial rates paid from that area.