Council executive criticised over poor state of Great Southern Greenway

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Stephen Keary, Fine Gael. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

THE Great Southern Greenway is not fit for purpose, a former Mayor of Limerick claimed this week.

At this Tuesday’s meeting of Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District, Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary criticised the council executive for the lack of signage along the greenway and the poor standard of upkeep.

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He called for local representatives to be made aware of future design plans along the 39km walking and cycling off-road route, which runs along the old railway line connecting the towns of Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale.

He also called for public consultation about the greenway and complained that parts of the trail are covered in cow dung.

“It is not fit for purpose. There is no toilet facilities and the surface needs to be maintained properly. It needs to be kept to a proper standard,” Cllr Keary declared.

“There is a major lack of integration with the towns along the route — Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale. It is of no benefit unless there is proper signage. It is totally inappropriate for strangers visiting the area in particular.

“During my time as mayor, I had to drive out to the greenway in Abbeyfeale on one occasion and passed the entrance twice before I found the gate.”

Council Director of Social Development Gordon Daly admitted that the project is a “work in progress” but assured councillors that substantial progress and investment had been made on the greenway.

“I acknowledge work needs to be done but we have a very clear end product,” Mr Daly told council members.

Independent councillor Richard O’Donoghue suggested that before local representatives visit the greenway in Waterford that they first get on their bikes and travel the route on their own doorstep.

Director of Services  Caroline Curley said it was best to first visit the greenway in Waterford to see the standard that they aspire to here.

Cllr Keary pointed out that if there was a visit to Waterford on the cards that he did not see the need to make it an overnight trip.

Fianna Fáil councillor Kevin Sheahan took umbrage with this.

“I am not travelling up and down to any place on the same day. Those who want to travel back, can,” he insisted.