Cathaoirleach calls special meeting over street works controversy in County Limerick village

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Cathaoirleach calls special meeting over street works controversy in County Limerick village

Elected members of the Cappamore-Kilmallock district discussed the Bruree works at length

THERE have only been two special meetings called in the Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district and both have involved Bruree.

The first was in regard to the layout of the new roundabout in O’Rourke’s Cross and the second was on Tuesday. Cllr Mike Donegan requested the meeting over the current road works in the village; development works at the recycling area and ownership of the old railway bridge in Bruree. See story below for background information.

There are seven councillors in the municipal area but there were eight in the room as Cllr Richard O’Donoghue, of Adare-Rathkeale, was also present. He joined Cllrs Mike Donegan, Eddie Ryan, Martin Ryan, Ger Mitchell, John Egan, Brigid Teefy and PJ Carey. Cllr O’Donoghue constructed a new railing for a private client, Austin Leahy, to coincide with the council’s works. However, he wasn’t allowed speak due to the rules of special meetings.

Cllr Donegan said he and Cllr Martin Ryan had held two meetings with roads engineer Diarmuid Sheehy, and also met local residents.

“I was on the phone for two days and there are a lot of questions,” said Cllr Donegan.

Mr Sheehy said the purpose of a long kerb, which has narrowed the road on the Kilmallock side of Bruree and removed parking areas, is to give a clean line on the approach to the village. He said the overlay of the road will happen later this month and footpaths constructed.

There was a discussion over folios and what areas were owned by the council and what was the property of Mr Leahy. The area where the railing was built by Cllr O’Donoghue for Mr Leahy was formerly used for parking.

Cllr Eddie Ryan said for as long as he has been driving in and out of Bruree the now railed off area was “public space”.

“That was the space for parking overflow. How did this come to be in private ownership?” asked Cllr Ryan.

It was decided that the petition with over 250 signatures against the street works was a separate item to the agenda.

Cllr Donegan asked if an enforcement notice has been issued by the council.

Sean Coughlan, director of service, said if they feel there is an enforcement issue it will be issued.

“It will go through a process separate to what Diarmuid (Sheehy) is doing. A key concern is parking. We will look at Bruree and options for parking,” said Mr Coughlan.

Cllr Donegan said ownership of the land has to be clarified.

Cllr Martin Ryan, who knows a thing or two about trucks, said when the lorry was collecting the recycled items in the bottle bank the trailer was out on the road due to the new kerb.

Mr Sheehy said they will cut some more of the new kerb to improve access. The kerb is also preventing lorry drivers pulling over to rest at a location where they traditionally have for years, said Cllr Martin Ryan

“It is a heavy regulated industry. They do need places to rest,” said Cllr Martin Ryan.

Mr Sheehy said O’Rourke’s Cross is close by. Cllr Martin Ryan said the petrol station is privately owned and closes at 10pm.  

Cllr Mitchell asked are kerbs needed at all?

”Everybody has the best intentions but it has narrowed the road. Two lorries coming against each other won’t fit through,” said Cllr Mitchell.

Cllr Eddie Ryan agreed saying they could have put down lines and surfaced the road.

Hugh McGrath, senior executive engineer, said it is Mr Sheehy’s job to come up with designs and prioritise pedestrian safety. “Lines do not have the same protection as kerbs,” said Mr McGrath.

Cllr Donegan said narrowing the road is a way of traffic calming. Cllr Teefy said speeding in the village is a big issue. She praised Mr Sheehy and Bruree Tidy Towns.

After an hour and a half of discussion, Mr Coughlan said they will seek clarification on the legal ownership of areas.

“The planning side will take its own action. We will look at concerns over safe parking in Bruree,” said Mr Coughlan.