BANTRY’S three public representatives said that they and the town’s business association are urgently requesting that the town’s road surfaces and footpaths be brought into the 21st century.
Cllr Danny Collins tabled a motion at the Municipal District meeting calling on Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Cork County Council’s Director of Roads to make funding available to establish a footpath replacement programme because they are dangerous for pedestrians, particularly the elderly, those with limited mobility, and the visually impaired.
Cllr Collins said he recently went on a walking tour of Bantry with a woman from the National Council for the Blind and it was made abundantly clear to him that ‘our streets are falling apart’.
Another day, he said he received a phone call from ‘a woman in tears’ whose father fell on the roadway and had to be taken to Bantry General Hospital.
‘I am asking the TII and the Council to get the streets sorted out,’ he said.
Following their meeting with the business association, Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said: ‘Bantry is due an injection of funding. In the past, Skibbereen and Clonakilty, as former town council towns, were at an advantage because they received funding for road works on a regular basis while the roads in towns, such as Bantry, Dunmanway and Castletownbere have been neglected.’
Cllr Hegarty said streets and footpaths need continuous maintenance and nothing much has been done in Bantry for decades. Furthermore, because it doesn’t have a by-pass road, she said heavy fishing trucks, travelling to Castletownbere, have to travel through the centre of the town and that is taking its toll.
She welcomed the fact that Irish Water is currently carrying out some repairs to the water mains in the town, but asked that when the work is complete that ‘something be done to repair the town’s road surfaces because the work is long overdue.’
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) also spoke about the ‘inequality’ between towns in West Cork and said: ‘It’s time for this work to be done because it’s no joke. It is like the rocky road to Dublin.’
An engineer for Cork County Council confirmed that a portion of the €1m allocation for resurfacing works would be spent in Bantry this year. However, he did warn that an old culvert running through New Street, and beneath Wolfe Tone Square could be ‘a major issue in the future’.
During the discussion, Cllr Hegarty called for an update on her proposal to put traffic calming measures at Abbey Road to facilitate the people using the sailing club. And she requested that line markings at the junction at the Westlodge Hotel, leading to Bantry Enterprise Centre, Rooska, the Goat’s Path and Bantry, be redone because the lack of signage is confusing and dangerous for motorists.
‘There have been accidents there in the past,’ she said. Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) agreed. ‘It is a mish-mash and very confusing,’ he said. ‘We can’t wait 10 years for it to be resurfaced before the authorities will agree to reline it. The common denominator in all of this is Transport Infrastructure Ireland. They should be looking after the national roads going through our towns. But they are neglecting us.’