THE argument about lack of funding will not go down well with the people of Mungret, given that “nothing has been done in the village for over 20 years”. So said Nigel Mercier, chairman of the Mungret Community Alert Committee who led a delegation meet the Adare area councillors this Monday.
“On many occasions, Mungret residents have vented their frustration at the lack of basic facilities in the village and the bewildering lack of any improvements in the last 20 years,” Mr Mercier said.
But, he continued: “The long-awaited sewerage and drainage works have finally arrived.” And this, the delegation argued, was an opportunity for Mungret to enter the 21st century – and acquire the same level of facilities they see in neighbouring villages and suburbs, such as footpaths, cycle lanes, pedestrian crossings, bus shelters and regular street cleaning.
No child in Mungret could get access to school, soccer or GAA by foot or bike “without their safety being put at serious risk”, Mr Mercier claimed. “In 2012, that is unacceptable.”
Mr Mercier also told councillors that the Community Alert committee had encountered “frustrating delays” in simply trying to put signs up. The committee raised money, investigated locations and suppliers but were then stymied at county council level when they were told, after a long wait, that they now required needed planning permission for the signs. “The seeming lack of interest in our efforts is, to say the least, dispiriting,” he said.
The delegation accepted there would be disruption in the village until the end of the summer because of the sewerage works. But, they wanted to know, what condition will the village be left in afterwards. “What traffic controls will be introduced? Will a bus shelter be provided? Will pedestrian crossings be provided? Will the opportunity be taken to widen roads, lay footpaths and bury service cables as well as improve the quality of the local realm?”
Director of transport and water, Paul Crowe said there was an opportunity now to look at traffic flow while the works were going on. But he also pointed out that funding was a significant issue. It might have to happen incrementenally, he said, so “at the end of the day it will all fit together”.
Widening of the road in front of the GAA pitch had been on the cards for years, he acknowledged. “It hasn’t happened for one reason or another. We would hope once the sewerage scheme is in place, those kinds of things can happen.
Tomas Hannon pointed out that a new Educate Together primary school had been sanctioned for the area and a second one was possible along with a new secondary school. He believed they should be on the one campus.
There was a need to think outside the box, Cllr Richie Butler said while Cllr James Collins said it was not necessary to wait until there was a master plan or lay-out plan to move ahead with some of the community’s requests.
After the meeting, Mr Mercier said: “We knew we weren’t going to get specific answers this morning. It was an opportunity for us to vent our concerns.” For too long, the answer had been that nothing could be done until the sewerage scheme was done. “Now it is here. Now we are putting the foot on the accelerator.”