Fianna Fáil councillor, Justin Warnock, has insisted that the Council address the “serious neglect” that has affected the north Leitrim village of Kinlough since the collapse of the property boom.
Cllr Warnock put forward a motion calling on Leitrim County Council CEO, Frank Curran to “take a personal interest in, and make every effort to ensure that all works are completed in all residential estates and infrastructure put in place to meet the needs of the people of Kinlough, which has the third largest urban population in Co Leitrim.”
Cllr Warnock asked that traffic calming facilities be installed at both entrances to the village and stressed the need for the provision of two pedestrian crossings to facilitate children accessing the Four Masters National School.
Addressing the meeting on Monday last, Cllr Warnock said there had been a “serious neglect” of Kinlough and he was especially critical of the lack of facilities for children.
He noted there are 280 pupils between 4 and 12 enrolled at the local national school “but there is very little amenities for children of this age in the village”.
At the Eco Park beside Lough Melvin, which he acknowledged is “still in its infancy”, there is just one swing set and a bench in its play area. “And this is located next to an electricity pylon so parents aren’t happy to use it for fear of health issues,” he added.
Cllr Warnock said that a nearby fishing pier is in “poor condition” and he noted there is no footpath access from the village to the Eco Park.
“I personally find it disturbing when I see what is planned in other areas and when I have asked about Kinlough, I am told “there is no money”. One has to ask what is to become of the property tax from over 400 houses in Kinlough?” he observed.
“Kinlough is a beautiful village nestled between the Dartry Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean and a village with a young vibrant population, with a great future if it gets the recognition and the investment it duly deserves.”
His motion was supported by Cllr Padraig Fallon.
Responding to the motion Council CEO, Frank Curran, said that Leitrim County Council “has and will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders including banks, bondholders and receivers, to facilitate the completion of outstanding works on estates within the village”.
“The process of engagement however is slow and requires sustained efforts and the co-operation of all involved,” he said.
He added that further details of unfinished estates across the county will be provided in an update before the coming Municipal District Meetings.
He noted that Kinlough had been granted a €100,000 astro turf pitch, which would be a welcome amenity in the area.
However Cllr Warnock pointed out “the astro pitch isn’t something suitable for children under 10”.
Senior Engineer, Shay O’Connor observed that funding had been secured previously for the provision of a pedestrian crossing in Kinlough.
He said that despite numerous meetings “we could get no agreement on its placement from the people in Kinlough so we had to abandon the plan”.
He said that unless the situation had changed and agreement had been reached on the location of any pedestrian crossing, revisiting the situation would be a “fruitless exercise”.
Cllr Warnock disagreed, stating that he felt the provision of a pedestrian crossing should be pursued.
He went further suggesting that a roundabout and a pedestrian crossing be provided beside the garda station at the junction of the school.
Mr O’Connor acknowledged that the Council had never considered a roundabout but he said they are open to discussions. He did stress the additional costs involved in providing such a solution.
Issues such as the provision of a footpath to the Eco Park and the potential of securing funding for further low cost safety schemes for the village will be listed for discussion at the upcoming Manorhamilton Municipal District Meeting.