A petition has been forwarded to Laois County Council from residents of The Grange, Portlaoise, calling for the river in the area to be immediately cleaned up and made safe in the interests of protecting local children.
The news emerged at last week’s meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District in County Hall, duing separate motions proposed by Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley and Cllr Noel Tuohy.
Cllr Tuohy called on the council to address the problems of dangerous trees, overgrowth and stagnant water at the river.
“It’s a health and safety issue, a child could fall in there and never be seen,” he said. “We don’t want to see a tragedy. The residents themselves will maintain it.”
He said that The Grange is an estate where the residents actually do look after their area very well and all they are looking for from the council is help in doing so.
Meanwhile, Cllr Dwane Stanley called on the council to remove four booms from the water and clean up the river running through the housing estate.
Cllr Dwane Stanley revealed that she had been give a petition signed by all the residents of The Grange, looking for something to be done. She said she had given the petition to the council and added that the local residents are prepared to maintain the river themselves.
“(The river) is very badly overgrown. Four booms were put in to catch oil a few years ago and the booms are still there,” she said.
“There’s a small amount of litter thrown into the river. If the council clean it up, the residents will maintain it. It’s for the safety of children, too,” she concluded.
Both councillors received a response from Mr Tom O’Carroll, senior executive engineer with the roads section of Laois County Council.
Mr O’Carroll said that he would investigate the matter further and establish what funding is required to carry out the tree trimming and the removal of scrub from the river at The Grange.
Mr O’Carroll also told the meeting that the council had to ensure they didn’t create a problem with the National Parks and Wildlife Service over the works.