Increased gritting of footpaths within the environs of Ennis has been sought “to prevent future accidents” while elderly residents in the town have felt “trapped” on occasions when icy conditions deterred them from leaving their homes.
Citing the additional amount of persons out exercising in their own locality due to the Level 5 restrictions, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) appealed to 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”.
“Finite resources” are available to the local authority, senior engineer Eamon O’Dea responded which make it “very difficult” to keep footpaths safe. He outlined that their larger gritting trucks are on “a strict rotation” for scheduled gritting under the Council’s winter maintenance programme. “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.
Speaking at the February meeting of the Ennis MD, Cllr Norton commented that the possibility of cold weather and icy conditions in the county was “always there”. She stated, “With so many people out walking, I was just wondering about the gritting of footpaths to prevent people having accidents. I understand where Eamon is coming from. I would ask people out walking during icy weather to be cautious and conscious of the fact that some areas don’t get as much sunlight as other areas”.
Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) described the matter as “a serious issue”. He detailed, “I know of elderly residents in some of the older estates in town who are living alone and they felt very isolated and trapped in their houses because of the conditions. A day’s gritting can make a big difference”.