A “DANGEROUS” section of quayside next to the city skatepark could be made secure if Limerick City and County Council agrees to a proposal to take Steamboat Quay in charge.
Cllr Joe Crowley highlighted the 40-metre stretch of Steamboat Quay where there is no railing or barrier to prevent people from falling into the Shannon.
And this section of the bank was also “of great concern” to the local charity, the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol, Cllr Crowley told this week’s meeting of the Limerick Metropolitan District.
His Fianna Fail colleague, Cllr Sean Lynch, agreed the area should be secured. The former garda detective recalled being on duty when - at exactly this location - a student had jumped into the river during rag week.
“Luckily enough, there was a life buoy and he was rescued,” he said.
Cllr Crowley accepted that Steamboat Quay was currently in private ownership but said he would support any effort to have it taken in charge by the local authority.
“It is a really dangerous area and I know that having spoken to the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol, this area is of great concern to them,” he added.
Cllr Crowley’s motion also called upon the council to “repaint to white the black bollards and chains adjacent to the slipway at Howley’s Quay”.
These, he explained, were difficult to make out in hours of darkness and represented another hazard to people walking along the river.
Every effort should be made, he said, to secure the riverbank against accidents and in cases were people were feeling suicidal.
“The whole idea is that, given the prevalence of people going into the water, that we make some effort around control and prevention,” he said.
In a similar vein, Cllr Crowley welcomed recent improvements in public lighting in and around Arthur’s Quay Park - an area he knew had also been of concern to suicide prevention charities.
Meanwhile, Cllr John Loftus, Anti-Austerity Alliance, supported any effort to make the area next to the skatepark more secure.
“The area is very dark; the cobbles down there are very slippery and the whole area is very dangerous,” he remarked.
County secretary Eugene Griffin told councillors that Steamboat Quay was owned by a private company, Steamboat Developments Limited, who had recently written to the council asking that the area be taken in charge.
“That request is currently being considered,” Mr Griffin said, adding that Cllr Crowley’s request to repaint bollards at Howley’s Quay would be met.
It is unclear, meanwhile, what the current request to take Steamboat Quay in charge would mean for private car parking arrangements in the area.
The location has been the subject of complaints from motorists who have been clamped seemingly unaware that the area was privately owned in spite of warning signs.
A spokesman for the council told the Leader that the current proposal is for the local authority to take in charge “all of the public space including roads and footpaths owned by Steamboat Developments” but that it excluded a number of parking spaces.
“It is our understanding that the majority of the public space in Steamboat Quay is owned by Steamboat Developments, excluding about 12 to 15 car parking spaces.
“In carrying our various departmental reports on this taking in charge we will identify any areas not in the ownership of Steamboat Developments. If there are parking spaces in the legal ownership of other companies, we will seek clarification on whether these owners wish these to be taken in charge or if they wish to continue to maintain these spaces into the future,” the spokesman said.