CONSTRUCTION costs of a footpath on the Kilkee Rd in Kilrush would be a six figure sum, a senior engineer in Clare County Council has warned.

Dating back to April 1987, requests have been issued to the local authority to provide a footpath on the Kilkee Rd in Kilrush on the N67 at Leadmore East/Carnanes. Then TD, Madeline Taylor-Quinn (FG) was informed by the Council that the funds were not available that year or the subsequent two years.

Retired Junior Minister, Pat Breen (FG) informed residents in November 2019 that the costs of construction including public lighting and a pedestrian crossing would be €190,000.

Commitments were given by Steve Lahiffe of the West Clare Municipal District following a proposal by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) in May 2017 that the Council would consult with Transport Infrastructure Ireland on the request. “We have heard nothing from this engagement,” a letter signed by twenty nine residents in October flagged.

Cllr Keating at the last meeting of the West Clare MD in 2021 sought an update on the proposed footpath.

Senior executive engineer, Alan Kennelly detailed that the footpath extends as far as St. Theresa’s Nursing Home on the N67 and “is located almost entirely” where the maximum speed limit applies which means the TII are the relevant road authority. “It is my understanding that the proposed footpath is in breach of National Policy relating to National Secondary Roads {DoECLG Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines for Planning Authorities (January 2012)}, and therefore the consent of the TII is very unlikely to be forthcoming,” he stated.

Adjacent lands to the nursing home would be rezoned if the footpath was extended by 500m, Kennelly said. “Given that the centre of Kilrush is in such need of re-invigoration and as the new County Development Plan process is approaching completion the Planning Authority is not in favour of the proposal. The proposed footpath is physically difficult to build. The road is narrow. The road is an embankment (i.e. higher than the adjoining lands) for large sections. The boundary of many properties is immediately adjacent to the road”.

He added, “The cost of the proposed footpath is likely to be quite substantial. Construction costs alone are likely to reach 6 figures. Land agreement, accommodation works, reasonably large-scale earthworks are all likely to add considerably to the cost. Clare County Council does not have any plans to commence the construction of the proposed footpath at present. A funding source would have to be identified before works of this scale could be commenced”.

Speaking before the West Clare MD, Cllr Keating recalled that one woman was killed along the stretch of the road while waiting for transport to bring her home. He described the residents as “very genuine” while urging the Council to talk with them. “34 years is a long time to be waiting for a footpath, in these times there is money for everything”.

Along the road, there is “a fair bit of build up,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) commented while seconding the proposal.

Looking to Lissycasey is an example that residents can look to, Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) felt. He believed the situation was “extremely difficult” with land acquisitions needed. Lynch told the meeting he previously informed Cllr Keating that the two of them together could share funds to try bring about a solution, “asking residents to sign a letter to put pressure on doesn’t help, a footpath is probably not going to be possible”.

Keating replied, “Ian is right, we did say we would give some of our GMA, this year I had committed my money but that doesn’t stop us, nothing has happened since and that is why I was approached about it. Let’s delve into money set aside for footpaths last year”. He said a speed limit reduction could also be considered to which Lynch retorted, “50km/h can’t be a permanent solution, the decision to bring in 60km/h was brought in by this Chamber and I voted against it”.

Funding 1.6km of a footpath will “exhaust” the GMA’s of councillors, Kennelly cautioned. “We can talk and plan as much as we like but it is not within our gift, we have to get the say so and approval of the TII before we commence”.

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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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