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04 Jul 2022

Neglect of Glenbarrow parking facilities at Laois Slieve Bloom beauty spot called out

Slieve Bloom amenity left inaccessible

Neglect of Glenbarrow parking facilities at Laois Slieve Bloom beauty spot called out

A shortage of car parking at an amenity and beauty spot in the Slieve Booms has caused Laois County Councillors to demand that the issue be tackled in the interest of residents and local residents.

Councillors unanimously agreed that parking at Glenbarrow eco-trail and waterfall has become a serious issue at the Borris-in-Ossory Mountrath Municipal Meeting. Cllr Seamus McDonald and Cllr James Kelly raised the issue with officials in motions.

Cllr McDonald asked Laois County Council to give an update on the parking problems.

He then expressed his concerns to the council.

“It’s great to see so many people coming to Glenbarrow, particularly at the weekends. It has been crammed up there every weekend since the beginning of the year. There is still a major problem with the parking, which is unfair to the eight residents living on that road, and sometimes they cannot get out of their own house. It is hard to blame the visitors as they have nowhere else to park,” he said.

Cllr Kelly supported the motion, while also tabling his own.

The independent councillor called on the Council to provide additional temporary parking adjacent to the Glenbarrow Loop and Waterfall in light of the recent road closures by Gardai.

Cllr Kelly said local residents are suffering but the random parking is also a danger.

“It is indiscriminate, we know emergency services have had issues up there before too. Something must be done as soon as possible,” he said

Cllr Kelly said the existing car has just 35 spaces but is regularly full. He said that even on weekdays most of the spaces are occupied. He added that there are four laybys on the approach road but people constantly park in them.

Cllr Conor Bergin followed Cllr Kelly’s statement by calling out the contradiction of adding new features to Glenbarrow while neglecting parking spaces.

“There is a lot of money being spent on smart cycle stops in the mountains, when parking is the most basic facility you have to have. You won’t get tourists unless there is adequate parking,” Cllr told Laois County Council on Thursday last.

“This issue has been going on for a while, it's unacceptable. Residents are afraid if emergency services needed to come, an ambulance mightn’t be able to reach them.

“We want people to come to the Slieve Blooms, to come to Laois, but we need to talk about infrastructure and facilities for tourists.

“I know it is difficult as the land around Glenbarrow is in private ownership. But if there were any kind of solution to be made, I think there should be some leeway. The issue is ongoing and unacceptable,” he said.

He added that he observed on a recent visit to Emo Court that more parking areas have had to be opened to the public.

Cllr Paddy Bracken fully supported the motion.

“We are fully aware that over the last few years the problem has grown. Firstly, the residents have to be protected. It is great to see the volume of people using the facilities, but I would love to see the application fast-tracked, we do not want to lose visitors.

“There’s loads of money out there, we see funding being announced every day. It’s a huge issue that won’t go away until it's dealt with,” he said.

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