Tuesday 20 March 2018

McCarthy seeks timetable for Fermoy footpath works

The section of footpath on the N72 in Fermoy that has been closed to the public for almost four years
The section of footpath on the N72 in Fermoy that has been closed to the public for almost four years

Bill Browne

"I'll believe it when I see it." That was the reaction of Fermoy-based Cork County Councillor to the latest instalment in the long-running saga over a 40-metre section of a local footpath on the N72 road in the town that has been closed to the public for almost four years.

The enforced closure of the footpath, which lies adjacent to the Town Park and opposite the local Church of Ireland, has long been a bone of contention with local county councillors who have repeatedly expressed their frustration at the long delay in repairing it. 

As far back as June of 2016 Cork County Council's director of road services, Tom Stritch, admitted the authority did not have the expertise to fix the footpath and the adjoining wall.

He pledged to put pressure on Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to provide the funding to repair the footpath as the N72 is a national route and falls under their remit. 

Late last year Mr Stritch told councillors that a consultant had been appointed with a view to undertaking the necessary repairs and that he hoped work would begin in early 2018. 

However, with no sign of work starting on the project Cork East TD Kevin O'Keeffe recently raised the issue in Dail Éireann, seeking confirmation that funding would be set aside for the project. 

In his reply TII chief executive Michael Nolan confirmed that they had received a design proposal for the repair of the footpath and wall.

"TII will provide funding to Cork County Council during 2018 to undertake works to the structure," wrote Mr Nolan. 

While confirmation of the funding was welcomed by Deputy O'Keeffe, Cllr McCarthy was less impressed saying that he hoped this was not just another false dawn. 

"This is the third time that we have been told these repairs works were in the pipeline. I feel as though the people of Fermoy have been strung along by TII. Its all well and good to make vague promises about funding, but we have heard nothing yet about any timetable for this project," said Cllr McCarthy. 

"In the meantime we are stuck with this eyesore. This saga has gone on for far too long and needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Nobody will be happier than I if work finally starts this year, but I'll believe it when I see it," he added.