Increased Calls for Additional Lighting Along Crosshaven Walkway
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Councillor Audrey Buckley (FF) has reiterated her desire for increased public lighting to be installed along a part of the Crosshaven walkway, with increased concerns over the safety of women in public spaces.
While the item has been on the agenda for some time, Cllr Buckley felt there was a pressing need to raise the issue at January’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) in light of the tragic events that recently unfolded in Tullamore and the death of Ashling Murphy. On many occasions Cllr Buckley has requested that additional solar lighting be installed between Rabbit Island to O’Leary’s Cross to match those already installed along the walkway.
There has been some controversy with the lighting in the past, when in July 2019 during the middle of the night 88 of the lights were drilled through in a costly act of criminal damage, but other lights were installed with no similar incident occurring since. Plans were also on the cards to increase the stretch of the walkway with lighting to cover the distance between the first carpark at Kilnagleary as far as Rabbit Island, which is 3kms away.
In seeking an update on the progress of securing additional lighting, Cllr Buckley explained that many women she knew had been making enquires to her in light of recent events. She added that a lot of people were increasingly anxious about running along the walkway as the day approaches dusk, with a clear drop in the number of people using the amenity evident.
Moreover, the current operation of solar lighting, she suggested, was not a good enough solution given her opinion that they do not produce enough light to make someone feel comfortable and safe during darker hours. The idea is that the lights are not overly empowering so that they do not disturb local wildlife and are thus environmentally friendly.
Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF) supported his colleague’s intervention on the matter but also asked a question which many themselves would be asking and that is whether a discussion is needed on the balance between ensuring that such equipment is environmentally friendly, but at the same time provides a critical service.
Cllr McGrath appeared to indicate that maybe on this occasion common sense should prevail and alternative lighting, which is geared towards providing increased public safety should take priority, but also try and be mindful of the environmental concerns.
Further comments were made by Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh and Cllr Jack White (FG), who both agreed that increased lighting was needed, with the latter saying that in the days immediately following the murder of Ashling Murphy, there had been an “strange atmosphere” along the walkway in the evenings.
Given the feedback from Councillors, it was proposed by Chairperson Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) that a new report be commissioned to analyse how other popular greenways across the country address the lighting issue, with costings to accompany this.