Real frustration has been voiced by elected councillors in Killarney about what they consider to be an unacceptable delay between the date they approve various projects and the time it takes for work to be done on the ground.
Specific projects that have caused concern include the Lewis Road-bypass safety plan, the development of the Lough Lein looped walk, the Áras Phádraig redevelopment, the building of houses on the former Pretty Polly site and efforts to solve the town’s traffic gridlock.
Raising the matter, Cllr Niall O’Callaghan said a case in point was the plan for the development of Active Travel cycleways in Killarney town and on many of the approach roads which councillors enthusiastically voted in favour of over two years ago.
“We voted for it. The money was there. What is happening on the ground?” he asked.
Cllr O’Callaghan claimed standards were seriously slipping in Killarney, with grass growing out of manholes and out on the sides of roads and footpaths.
“I want to see legs on the ground. I want to see work being done. We’re being forgotten about in Killarney and we need to take a stand,” he stated.
“Apart from consultants being hired and reports being prepared, where is there any work being done? We really need to see some progress and get some answers as a number of projects that were promised have not been delivered,” he remarked.
Mayor Niall Kelleher told officials in attendance at today’s municipal district council meeting that, sometimes, it might be better for them to under promise and over deliver.
He said councillors have to answer to the public who voted for them and they need to be able to give them an accurate account rather than what they are being promised.
“The message needs to go out, loud and clear, that the elected members have proposed many solutions to the problems in Killarney, including the traffic chaos in the town, and the delays are not our fault,” he said.
The mayor acknowledged that the council staff were working hard behind the scenes and that good work is being done but proposals, promises and timelines are not being delivered on.
Cllr Maura Healy-Rae said it must be 15 months since the public consultation phase of the Lewis Road-bypass safety scheme had concluded and progress is still awaited.
“God damn it, land is being locked for over 20 years because Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) can’t make up their minds. We need action,” she said.
She added that years have passed since there was a road fatality in Glenflesk village but traffic calming measures there are still awaited.
“It’s very frustrating We can’t seem to keep up to the demand and we don’t seem to have enough staff to do what they have to do,” Cllr Healy-Rae added.
Cllr Brendan Cronin said it is important that the council and the other agencies involved honour the time commitments that are given.
“It’s extremely frustrating. People are coming to us and we have to explain where we’re at. The TII must honour its commitments,” he said.
Refuting any suggestion that the town was being forgotten about, Killarney Municipal District Manager, Angela McAllen, said a great deal of work has to go into the planning stages of every project.
She said she would arrange a special meeting between councillors and the officials in charge of the Active Travel and the roads design office to discuss the status of the various projects.
Killarney Municipal District Engineer, John Ahern, said some projects can be long and drawn out and he could understand the frustration being felt by councillors.
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