Cllr Michael Collins
NEWCASTLE West councillor Michael Collins has expressed concern about the upkeep of the Great Southern Trail, now that it has been taken over by Limerick City and County Council.
And he has tabled an item about the walking and cycling trail for the next meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District.
“Since the council took over the GST, there have been ongoing issues regarding maintenance of the trail,” he said. He had raised these issues at different times, he added, but “it seems that very little has been done.
“There is a lot of litter on the line at Barnagh, not far from Station Road,” he continued. “Briars are overhanging and it looks generally unkempt.”
He was also aware, he said, that problems about upkeep of the trail at Ardagh had also arisen where drains needed cleaning and vegetation needed to be cut back.
“For such an important amenity and tourism resource, the council has really neglected it,” the councillor declared. “I want somebody in the council to take charge of this resource, stop passing the parceI and start cleaning the trail and promoting it.”
Cllr Collins added that he also wanted to know what was happening to the €100,000 allocated last year to the GST from a government fund. “Why has the money not been spent?” he asked.
Liam O’Mahony, chairman of the GST Group which carried out the development of the 40km trail from Rathkeale to the Kerry border over 20 years until the council took over its management last November, was also critical of maintenance on the track. He recently brought a group of people involved in managing a greenway in Spain to see the trail and was appalled at what he found.
However, director of services Gordon Daly stressed that the council is dealing with the maintenance issues that have arisen. “We have gotten complaints. We are considering them,” he told the Leader.
On the issue of marketing and promoting the trail, he said work is advancing on procuring enhanced signs for the trail. “Those signs are ordered. Things are happening,” he said.
“We all know the trail has huge potential,” he added. “It is underutilised by tourists in particular.”
A discussion on the trail is expected to take place at the next meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District later this month.