*Photograph: Ian Nutt
Elements of anti-social behaviour continue to occur at one of East Clare’s most popular attractions, local representatives have warned.
Officially opened in September 2014, the 12 O’Clock Hills looped walks have been one of the county’s most visited destinations over the past two years. They are part of the Slieve Bearnagh Mountain Range and are located in a line of hills stretching to the southwest from Broadford. The main peak Knockanuarha is 5k to the southeast of Kilkishen Village.
At a recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) asked the local authority to locate a barrier between the L3016 at Torpey Hurleys in Belvoir and the R471 at Oatfield Church “to try and stop the unlawful activities (such as) rubbish dumping, thefts, bike scrambling which is been carried out in the 12 O’Clock Hills catchment area”.
In response, senior executive engineer Niamh Madden noted that the L-30101 is a local tertiary road that connects the L-3010 to the R471 at Oatfield. She acknowledged, “While the Killaloe Municipal District has sympathy for anyone affected by antisocial behaviour, a public right of way exists over this public road and erecting a barrier on the road would require an extinguishment of this public right of way”.
Praising the benefits of the 12 O’Clock Hills area, Cllr Cooney added that “a lot of concern” remains with the extent of illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour occurring in its surrounds. He admitted, “It is why different groups have come to me asking to curb the illegal issues going on up there”.
Addressing the meeting, the senior engineer said the extinguishment of a right of way was possible via the roads act but would require a display notice for a period of one month with submissions to be accepted for a period of two weeks thereafter. “At the minute, it is a public right of way and they have a right to use,” she added.
Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) seconded the proposal. “The reason the 12 O’Clock Hills committee took on the area was to eliminate anti-social behaviour before it became a fabulous amenity. Some bits are still happening up there, illegal dumping is one of them”.
Car parking at the 12 O’Clock Hills is currently inadequate, Cllr Cooney felt. He explained that he wished to see a barrier put on the road from the Oatfield side which could be locked to stop traffic coming though and had the possibility of becoming a car park for the amenity.