Fears village where Eamon de Valera grew up ‘will become a concrete jungle’

Residents of a rural Irish village in Co. Limerick – where Eamon de Valera grew up – say they have had enough and will no longer stand by and watch helplessly as the local authority turns their picturesque landscape into a concrete jungle.

In fact, so enraged are the people of Bruree they have started a petition to put an end to street works and, so far, in the pursuit of that – have gathered close to 450 signatures in support of the cause.

Noel Brosna is an organic beef farmer born and reared on the outskirts of Bruree village.

He says that, as a direct result of the latest local authority works, the road into the village from the north side has been narrowed to such a degree that traffic safety issues have now emerged.

‘No consultation with the people’

Brosna also pointed out that there was no consultation between Limerick City and County Council and the residents who live in the village or those living and working along the environs.

There was no consultation between the council’s engineer and people in this parish in relation to the works that the local authority is now carrying out.

He added: “They just went in and did what they are doing. The footpath going through this village was perfect; then the next thing we see is a new footpath being installed and built in a way that has taken half of one side of the road away altogether.

“Then the landowner of the railway house and grounds put in railings and all our lovely rockeries and flowers – that tidy towns has so diligently taken care of – and that have been in this village for at least the last 35 years are no longer accessible to anybody because they have been fenced off.

“Not only is it beginning to look like a concrete jungle out there but it also appears that this public space has been given over to the owner of the railway house and land.”

Noel Brosna outlines the problems in the village of Bruree

Brosna says there is nothing now but problems for cars, farm machinery and lorries endeavouring to pass through a village that has already experienced the downside of the recession.

“Apart from all the annoyances now trying to get farm machinery, etc., through the village, I am a mass goer on a Sunday and for the last three weeks I had to park my car everywhere and anywhere. If a lorry comes up through the street during mass it is holding up traffic because the road has been narrowed on the north side of the village.”

Where there is a will, there is a way…

Meanwhile, Josephine McDonnell has lived in her house – right in the heart of Bruree – for the last two and a half years. She loves the village and its people and it is she who spearheaded the petition to put a stop to the local authority works being carried out.

Ann Price and Josephine McDonnell with the petition they have organised in Bruree

“I have taken great pride in the village since I arrived here. Truckers, silage contractors, farmers going over and back to Kilmallock mart, car users – the whole lot go through our village –and it was like a social hub here,” she added.

“But now we are at the stage where people going to mass don’t even have a place to park their cars. There is absolutely no place to park along the street anymore. We have lost all our car parking facilities as well.”

McDonnell says the situation has become so difficult now that the health and safety of the people of the village is at stake.

The place is a nightmare and with regard to those using the services in the village or trying to attract business here all I can say is who in the name of God would want to come in here now?

She continued: “Some people are of the view that these works are being carried out as a way of introducing traffic calming measures – but they are not. If calming measures are suitable for our village then they should be at the bridge on the way in and not in the heart of our village.”

What is going on here?

Cllr Gerald Mitchell – the local area representative for Bruree – told AgriLand that by the time residents informed him about what was going on he discovered that Limerick City and County Council had consulted with people in the area, but that consultation had been limited to just three members of the local tidy towns committee.

Railings have been installed and a new footpath in the heart of the village has taken half the road with it

“There is a problem with that because this is a public issue that effects everyone and a more extensive consultation should have been carried out,” Mitchell continued.

“Up until now the area that has been fenced off was used as a car park. Truckers passing through used it, people attending funerals, mass goers – it was a public place that was utilised by the public.”

He is adamant, meanwhile, that the public should have been consulted about the works that were planned and he pointed to the “huge mistake” made by Limerick City and County Council by not holding consultations on the matter.

He also said that the railings/fencing that have been installed now appears to have planning issues attached to it.

Josephine McDonnell at the house where Eamon de Velara lived with his grandmother, aunt and uncle in Bruree, Co. Limerick

“I have seen the maps in respect of the new landowner there and he does own the land that was once the car park in this village,” Mitchell continued.

“The problem I suppose is that prior to this purchase there was no railing and so the question is why is it going up now? Who agreed this? Was the council involved? Was the council’s engineer involved?

“Why was the general public not consulted because this is a public issue as it pertains to car parking. Were procedures adhered to? And, if not, why not?”