COUNCILLORS have called for urgent action in Abbeyfeale Town Park to protect the public amenity from being washed away into the River Feale.
In a rallying cry at a special meeting in Newcastle Municipal District, Fine Gael councillor Liam Galvin warned that there was currently two-acres of ground in the park at major risk of falling into the river. Cllr Galvin told the council executive that the level of erosion in the West Limerick town was getting worse with every flood.
“It is a crying shame what is happening.
The town park is a wonderful amenity that is used by families and the elderly, but the facilities are not safe at present. A couple of years ago we had the issue where the Roche family found their home at risk, and now the park finds itself in no-man’s land as well,” the Abbeyfeale native explained.
Cllr Galvin called for support from Limerick City and County Council and the OPW (Office of Public Works) in addressing this serious issue.
“I am asking for a bail out. We need the support of the Minister of the OPW and the Council. We need help – it’s going to cost hundreds of thousands to rectify this.”
Cllr Galvin also said that people in Abbeyfeale have been complaining about the quality of the drinking water in recent weeks.
“Is it any wonder the quality is deteriorated. The water going into the treatment plant is full of sand and gravel,” he claimed.
Galvin pointed the blame for much of the problems in Abbeyfeale Town Park at Irish Water’s door and said they now need to come on board to solve it.
“If truth be told, the work they have done is half-assed and incompetent.
“We need to contact the Minister for the OPW and seek a meeting with him on this. We’re going to have to come up with a solution as this problem isn’t going away.”
Limerick Mayor Francis Foley (FF) said he agreed “wholeheartedly” with Cllr’s Galvin’s comments and fully supported his call for action.
“This is not the first time we have had to bring a motion on this over the last number of years. We have met with various stakeholders, but if something isn’t done urgently, land from the Feale Bridge down will be lost because of flooding,” Cllr Foley warned.
“Because of climate change we are getting a lot more rain and flooding. It is having a lot more impact. We need someone to take this by the scruff of the neck and sort it out, once and for all.
“We have a beautiful town park being washed away which is very frustrating. The town park is being eroded and it is incumbent that we get the funding and support needed. This should be acted on immediately.”
Cllr John Sheahan (FG) felt it important that all relevant bodies were brought on board and he told members that they must make sure they do everything in their power as a Council on the matter.
“We don’t want some clever boy calling us out. We must make sure we have everything done before we go to those geniuses.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Colins pointed out that County Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan had been Minister for the OPW for a number of years now.
“Is he even listening? He’s been in there quite a while,” he suggested.
Meetings Administrator Martin Curran told councillors that the OPW would have a report ready on the erosion in Abbeyfeale Town Park in the coming weeks.
Cllr Foley proposed that the item stay on the monthly agenda of the Newcastle West Municipal District for the foreseeable future until they are “satisfied with the response”.