Tipperary County Council is to contact the consultants who developed the town’s new park to see if anything can be done about extra fencing in the amenity.
The decision follows a call by Cllr Seamus Morris asking for the entire park to be fenced off over fears that a child might fall into the Nenagh River.
Initially at Nenagh Municipal District Council, Mr O’Connor pointed out that the area was developed as a riverside park and that was part of its attraction. He pointed out that it was common practice not to fence off facilities of this nature, such as in Dromineer, Castlelough, Garrykennedy and Terryglass.
“It is accepted that it is not possible to elminate all risk and there is a responsibility on those who bring young children to areas such as these to provide adequate supervision,” he maintained.
Mr O’Connor pointed out that the playground was fenced off and felt fencing would detract from the park as an amenity.
He also pointed out that, prior to completion, a decison was taken following consultation with the design team, to extend the fencing in certain areas such as at the bridge, at the viewing area near the end of the park and from the end of the ramp to the benches near the entrance where the slope is steep.
Mr O’Connor also highlighted that riverside planting in the less steep areas, which has now grown since its initial planting, will further develop, providing a buffer between the park and the river.
However, Cllr Morris described the Nenagh River as the “angriest of rivers”, and said he couldn’t understand why it was not fenced off. “With my hand on my heart I can’t say it is safe.”
He was supported by the rest of the MDC councillors, with Cllr Mattie Ryan saying he “couldn’t have it on his conscience” if any child fell into the river.
“People are raising it with us,” declared Cllr Hughie McGrath. “It’s a river that can swell. We don’t want to hear of a tragedy.”
Cllr Joe Hannigan also described the river as “fast flowing” and it could be “lethal”. He believed it to be danagerous and couldn’t see any reason for not continuing the fencing all around the park.
Cllr Ger Darcy, MDC cathaoirleach, asked if a hedge could be grown that might provide protection.
Mr O’Connor stated that as the park had been designed by ABK Architects and landscaped by Stephen Diamond & Associates the council couldn’t take that responsibility away from them.
However, he proposed a compromise that he would ask ABK Architects to relook at the park.