WITH the recent pedestrianisation of the city’s main thoroughfare on O’Connell Street, it has been suggested by councillors, that it is time now to start gritting footpaths hit by freezing temperatures this week.
At Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting, council members hit out that footpaths in the city centre were in a “treacherous condition” and needed to be gritted as a priority.
During an Arctic blast that saw temperatures plummet to below freezing in recent days, Sinn Fein councillor Sharon Benson highlighted the difficult conditions faced by pedestrians.
Social Democrats councillor Elisa O’Donovan maintained that as the local authority was eager to see people in the city over Christmas, the gritting of footpaths needed to be prioritised.
Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely also recommended that the Three Bridges Walk in the city was gritted.
Councillors also called for salt and grit to be provided to city businesses and schools during the cold spell.
Senior Engineer Hugh McGrath explained that the Council did not have the provision, and also had concerns about access to depots. Mr McGrath pointed out that hardware stores stocked salt and grit for those who needed it.
Cllr Dan McSweeney (FG) claimed that Kerry County Council gritted all the footpaths in its major towns on frosty mornings.
“Why isn’t it being done here?” he asked.
Mr McGrath told him it would take up a huge amount of resources.
“It is not in our plan. We have been inundated with calls over the weekend. We just don’t have the resources,” he commented.
Cllr Daniel Butler called for Limerick City and County Council’s policy to be looked at around gritting.
“With the increased level of pedestrianisation we need to renew our policy.”
Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan also pointed to a number of Active Travel cycle routes that were “a bit icy” during the winter freeze.
The Council explained that it was aware of potential problem areas on its cycling infrastructure and were endeavouring to get to them.
Cllr Dan McSweeney felt pedestrians should be the top priority, and not cycle lanes.