FUNDING TO THE TUNE OF €575,000 will see major footpath upgrades across Tulla but efforts to include O’Reilly Park in the works have been rejected.

As part of the Active Travel scheme from the Department of Transport, €575,000 has been allocated for footpath upgrade works to “the worst affected sections of footpath along the primary streets within the town”. Some of the funding has been carried over from last year, senior officials in Clare County Council confirmed.

Repair works will be carried out on Main St, Church St and from the courthouse to beyond the post office and the adjacent commercial premises. The grant will also enable Clare County Council to provide a section of new footpath along the R462 from the junction of the Donnane Road towards the town centre “to address an area where no footpath currently exists”. Work began last month on the improvements.

Safety for pedestrians accessing Tulla Athletics Club will also improve by the construction of a new footpath from the town centre to the club.

Clare County Council “in general.. will be replacing like-for-like” when it comes to the upgrades with tarmac footpaths to be used as replacement surfaces when it is already in-situ, “in certain locations it will be necessary to provide a concrete surface,” senior executive engineer, Niamh Madden outlined.

O’Reilly Park will not be included in any upgrades, despite local residents voicing their frustration with its absence. Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) asked that the main footpath in the estate be replaced in conjunction with the footpath upgrade.

Footpaths in O’Reilly Park are not included in the €575k works, Madden confirmed and only covers “the worst affected sections”. The local authority was confident the works would improve pedestrian safety but “also enhance the visual appeal of Tulla”. She added, “the Killaloe Municipal District does not currently have funding to carry out footpath improvement works in O’Reilly Park but should such funding become available in the future, Clare County Council will consider O’Reilly Park for footpath upgrade works”.

“I can’t say I’m happy,” Cllr Cooney remarked over O’Reilly Park’s omission. He explained that the footpath in the estate was built fifty years ago, “the kerb is high and dangerous, thank God there has been nobody seriously injured”. He praised the ongoing works in Tulla.

Inflation of costs and the disruption to O’Reilly Park residents during the construction of a 25 unit development in Doonaun was referenced by Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) who felt efforts should be exerted to include the estate in any improvements.

Parking habits of Tulla drivers needs to be looked at, Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) flagged. He said that motorists are “throwing” their front and back wheels out of the way when parking beside the paths which is limiting space and also damaging the paths.

Senior executive officer, Morgan Lahiffe told a meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District that they had a “limited budget at our disposal” for the works. “It’s important to us that every footpath in Tulla is safe and safe to use, we’re not going to do everything all at once, this is most definitely a huge step in the right direction, this kind of money for Tulla is an absolutely fantastic start and we will continue to search for more funding avenues for the likes of these estates ye have talked about into the future,” he commented.

Cllr Cooney in response reiterated his call for O’Reilly Park’s inclusion, “they have been looking for the upgrade for a long number of years, fantastic to see €575k coming into the town of Tulla for the upgrade of footpaths but can we try and see if something could be done”.

Addressing comments from Cllr Hayes on the high allocation, Madden stated, “Although €575k seems quite a lot, we are trying to get value for money with these projects, the cost of materials has gone up substantially in the last twelve to eighteen months”. She added, “Not only are we improving the footpaths in Tulla but we’re replacing the footpath and providing brand new footpath back towards the town so that will be an increased expense, the aesthetics has a retained element and retained elements are never cheap so when you add it all up we are achieving excellent value for money for what will be achieved in Tulla”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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