Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Cllr Joe Flaherty has called on Longford County Council to put together a three to five year plan that will set out improvement works on all local estates which were built more than twenty years ago.

Cllr Flaherty said the works are needed to ensure the estates are best equipped to deal with demographic changes in the years ahead.

Cllr Flaherty said, “Many of the estates in Co Longford were built more than 20 years ago and haven’t seen much investment in their infrastructure since then. These estates have now matured and the infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up with lifestyle changes that have occurred down through the years.

“Residential areas such as Pearse View in Longford town and Castle Gardens in Newtownforbes are good examples of this. These estates were built at a time when most homes had one car at most. However this isn’t the case anymore. It’s not uncommon for a home to have two cars and perhaps more if older children are living at home. This has put pressure on the amount of parking space available with many residents having to park their cars on green areas.

“The footpaths in Pearse Drive, Longford town are no longer fit for purpose. Demographic changes mean that there are a greater number of older people living in these estates who have mobility issues. The footpaths are not wheelchair friendly and do not have adequate curbs to assist people with mobility issues. The footpaths are in a state of disrepair and, coupled with poor lighting in some areas, they represent a hazard for many residents.

“I’m calling on Longford County Council to carry out an in-depth audit of all estates older than 20 years in the county to determine what improvement works are needed. This audit should then feed into an action plan which sets out a detailed timeline for the carrying out of the necessary repair works.

“The residents in these estates should not have to put up with substandard footpaths and green spaces which are clogged with cars due to a lack of available parking spaces. Similar improvement works have been carried out successfully in estates across the country. It’s only fair that residents living in these estates get the investment in infrastructure that they deserve,” concluded Cllr Flaherty.