Around €500,000 could be spent on footpaths in Portlaoise if councillors from the Portlaoise Municipal District club together some of their discretionary fund, with matching funding to be given by the council.
Director of services Kieran Keogh said the adopted budget for 2017 does not include a dedicated fund for establishing a footpath programme, following a motion from Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley at Portlaoise Municipal District meeting requesting a roll out of a footpath programme.
However, he said there is a commitment where councillors use some of their discretionary spend funding on footpaths, the council will match this funding, and can increase that to a further matching sum, subject to the money involved. He said this is a countrywide scheme which they are hoping to introduce. He said if every councillor allocated funding to reach €190,000, there would be €380,000 to spend on footpaths in the town.
It is essential for a footpaths programme to be rolled out, Cllr Dwane Stanley, pictured above, said. She said a section in Hillview Drive is in “a very bad way”.
She wondered how much footpath work could be provided from funding of €10,000. The meeting heard footpath reinstatement costs around €75-€100 per metre, depending on the finish.
Cllr Fitzgerald welcomed the news, adding that they should also lobby for the return of the footpath funding which was available to the old urban district councils.
It is important when private contractors are reinstating footpaths, that the finish is of the same standard as the existing ones. He said some contractors had used different materials “They are laughing at us,” he said.
The meeting also heard that €784,000 is also available for restoration improvement grants and €196,000 for surface dressing.
“You have €1million going into roads in the Portlaoise Municipal District and could have another half a million going into footpaths,” Mr Keogh said.