Joe Flaherty on RTE's Week in Politics last Sunday
A local councillor was acknowledged last week over his attempts to rectify footpath concerns close to where two fellow sitting members reside.
Cllr Joe Flaherty came in for satirical praise over his attempts to bring about upgrades to the Pearse Drive, Lisbrack and Demesne areas in the interests of public safety.
The Fianna Fáil local politician led calls at the June monthly meeting of Longford Municipal District for the Council to set aside funding for improvement works in all three areas in view of the increasing number of youngsters who use the area to access Longford Rugby Club.
“I can appreciate some of my colleagues have tabled similar motions to this previously but it’s something that is an issue for a lot of residents there particularly coming into the winter months when youngsters will be making their way down there (Rugby Club) on a Saturday,” he said.
Cllr Mae Sexton said while there was merit in what her council colleague was advocating, the issue was one which had a long and somewhat chequered history.
“Not only did we discuss it here but we had the low-cost safety measures in place for the Lisbrack Road and as soon as the council went to put it in they were told by the residents there that they didn’t want it so it has never proceeded,” she remarked.
Cllr Nolan, who like Cllr Sexton lives locally, noted how fears linked to possible noise pollution anxieties had resulted in a large cohort of locals objecting to the proposals.
“We have done the work on it before and I presume we will be told again by the same residents that it is a noisy project and that they don’t want it outside their door,” she noted.
As Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus Butler implored the Council to engage with the local residents association, Cllr John Browne cautioned against Cllr Flaherty pushing the issue any further for fear he “may get into trouble.”
Not to be outdone, Cllr Flaherty offered up a routinely comical reply, adding, “Well, it’s good to see you are looking out for me.
“You are almost a father figure now.”
Cllr Nolan, though was keen to add her tuppence worth to the debate as she heaped praise on Cllr Flaherty for his sense of solidarity towards her, Cllr Sexton and the people of the greater Demesne area.
“Thank you for being so supportive of the residents in mine and Cllr Sexton’s area,” she said, smirking over at her Fianna Fáil opposite number.
“We have been working on that for years and it looked like nepotism when we were looking for paths to be done in the Demesne. It’s like the estate that God forgot.
“If you keep canvassing and bringing it to our attention, we will totally support you and maybe you will have more success than we had over the last number of years because every time we looked for something we were told there was no money but I am sure that with your support behind us Cllr Flaherty we will get new paths, new roads and everything else in the Demesne and Lisbrack, and I look forward to thanking you Joe when that’s put in place.”
Sitting back in his chair while trying his best to maintain a straight face, Cllr Flaherty interjected for a second time, adding, “I am just sorry I didn’t come to the Council years ago as we would have had all sorted.”