Council move to make Limerick’s public spaces safer for women

Limerick Labour Party Councillor Elena Secas

A SAFETY audit to identify public spaces that are not woman friendly is to be undertaken by Limerick City and County Council as part of a public consultation on how to make open spaces safer for women.

The consultation follows a motion brought forward by Labour Party Councillor Elena Secas at last month’s meeting of the local authority.

Stating that she was delighted with the strong cross-party support for her proposal, Cllr Secas said it was vital that the council start the consultation process as soon as possible.

“The killing of Ashling Murphy in January of this year brought to the fore the fact that women frequently feel unsafe in public spaces especially when undertaking recreational activities such as walking or running.

“What this motion seeks to do is to compel the Council to consult women on how best to make public spaces safe and to incorporate the findings into future and existing developments and public realm infrastructure,” Cllr Secas explained.

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“What I am trying to do with this initiative is to identify the factors that make women and children feel safe and unsafe.

“Most engineers and planners are male and, as a result, most public realm projects and developments are designed from a male perspective. However, women have a different lived experience and I am seeking to have that experience documented and reflected in our infrastructure.

“We must listen to the lived experience of women and incorporate that into future planning of public realm and also where possible tweak our existing public realm accordingly.

“Once the consultation is completed, the findings will inform the next step which is the audit of all public spaces in the city and county that will identify all ‘no go’ and unsafe areas for women in the public realm so we can then re-plan and re-design them with the safety needs of women in mind”.