By Kieran O’Mahony
WITH meetings ongoing between members of Clonakilty Access Group and Cork County Council, one councilor said he was disappointed to see a headline in a national newspaper which said that Clonakilty town centre will become a ‘no-go area for disabled.’
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) was speaking at a recent meeting of the Municipal District of West Cork, where councillors asked Council officials about the progress of the public realm works.
He said he didn’t want the message going out that the area was a ‘no-go’ area.
‘I think the streetscape looks far more pedestrian-friendly for people, as well as providing access for people with disabilities. I do know that members of Clonakilty Access Group have met with Council officials over some concerns they have over the development,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Council official Justin England said that they have met with members of Clonakilty Access Group who had expressed their concerns about the gradient of the new footpaths, which was making it difficult for wheelchair users and they also had concerns about some street furniture planned for the town centre.
He said the footpaths had been put down but they would go back and look at two sections. The other issue is the location of the bus stop outside Meade’s newsagents, which is too narrow to facilitate buses with wheelchair access.
Meanwhile, Clonakilty Access Group intend to organise another public meeting at the end of next week to update the public on any progress made so far and decide where their campaign will go next.
Committee members and a representative from the Irish Wheelchair Association also held another two-hour meeting with Council officials recently, in relation to difficulties for people with mobility issues on some sections of the new footpaths recently installed.
‘Issues such as the location of disabled car parking spaces, gradients on the footpaths, water from downpipes on footpaths, and accessible town centre bus stop were also discussed,’ said a spokesperson for Clonakilty Access Group.
A number of wheelchair users accompanied Council members and representatives from Clonakilty Access Group on a walkabout of the new town centre footpaths.
‘It was evident there are problems there and while the Council officials were sympathetic and promised to look at some of the issues raised, we feel there needs to be a commitment and action to change things before the contractors leave the site.’