A FORMER Skibbereen town councillor has slammed the conditions of roads, footpaths and the local graveyard in his hometown, and has called on the community to demand action.
Frank Fahy, who also served as a town mayor, said that he was recently at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Skibbereen for a family funeral and was also upset by the disgraceful condition of the graveyard.
In the older section, he said, the grass and weeds stood ‘mid thigh-high on every space where they could grow including on the pathways, inside and outside kerbs’ and plots.
‘It appears that there is no respect left for the living or the dead in this part of the county anymore,’ he told The Southern Star.
He said that since the demise of Skibbereen Town Council the town has been neglected. ‘It is wonderful that the Flood Relief Scheme is finally underway, but this is down to our dedicated Floods Committee and the work done for many years to get this scheme underway,’ he said.
But he welcomed the news that reconfiguration of lower Market Street back to two-way traffic to facilitate the new Community School, and alleviate what he called ‘the constant traffic chaos’ at Townshend Street, is underway.
But, he asked, what has happened to plans ‘financed by the Town Council – or in other words by the people and businesses of Skibbereen?’
Mr Fahy added: ‘I noted in last week’s Southern Star that the Skibbereen Realm plan, being announced as “new”, is at last to see the light of day – more than two years later. The Town Council provided €880,000 for this Realm plan more than two years ago and not one iota of the work has been done since,’ he claimed.
He said that while some of the footpaths at North Street have been repaired, the footpaths from the Church to Noel O’Driscoll’s ‘which were the priority’, have ‘not been touched and are in a highly dangerous condition’.
He said that €150,000 was provided for North St footpaths and €80,000 has been spent. ‘Do we have to have somebody crippled in a fall before they are done?’
Mr Fahy said that he tripped on a footpath at Ilen Street recently and injured himself, giving himself two black eyes and ‘multiple abrasions’ to his face and forehead.
‘This part of the footpath is not as dangerous as that at North Street, where a lady pushing her wheelchair-bound mother to Mass had huge difficulty keeping the wheelchar and its occupant under control and safe,’ he said, adding: ‘Do we have to wait until injuries occur like the one by Thornhill’s corner some time ago, which cost the County Council’s insurers far more compensation than would have repaired or renewed the damaged surface that caused the injury and suffering to the lady in question?’
He claimed that the Council had provided €560,000 for a car park at the Marsh which has ‘not seen the light of day since’ and that €200,000 was provided for the redesign and refurbishment of the Town Hall and €20,000 as a donation to allow St Fachtnas Silver Band to extend their premises. ‘Not one of these projects have been started, more than two years after money was provided,’ he claimed.
Mr Fahy has now asked the community to put pressure on local politicians to get these projects underway and maintain those already in place. ‘We should not spend our lives looking over our shoulders in envy at our neighbours in Clonakilty and other towns who get things done and their towns looking well, while in Skibbereen, there is no respect for the living or the dead, and particularly where the property is in the care (or not) of the County Council,’ he concluded.