THE Kilminchy area of Portlaoise has been described as “like a town that the world forgot”.
Cllr Noel Tuohy made the comment as he appealed for better lighting, traffic calming and other safety measures in Kilminchy, which has more than 700 houses and a population of around 1,200.
Cllr Tuohy said Kilminchy is as big as Rathdowney and is probably the fifth or sixth biggest town in Laois, yet it doesn’t even have traffic ramps.
At a meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District, he asked the council to “review and assess” the current situation in Kilminchy in terms of lighting, traffic calming and other measures.
The Labour councillor said Kilminchy needs better infrastructure and services, as it is a self-sufficient village with a restaurant, shop, pub, nursing home and other amenities. He said: “Despite its size, there are no services. It’s like a town that the world forgot about.”
Road design engineer Farhan Nasiem replied that some street lights in Kilminchy have already been upgraded and remaining lights will be upgraded to LED, which will improve lighting levels in the area.
The engineer confirmed that the council’s road design section would review the estate with a view to improving safety but said any proposed works would be subject to funding being available.
Cllr Tuohy said the reply was a good start and he was glad the estate would be reviewed, as residents are forming a cohesive group and doing a lot of work. Cllr Pauline Madigan agreed that Kilminchy is “like a mini-town” and residents should be commended for the amount of work they are doing but there is “a long list of issues” in the estate.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald pointed out that Laois Partnership and the Laois Community Development Committee have given funding to the Kilminchy area and residents would work in partnership with them to come up with a plan for the estate. She said: “At least it is being recognised that a proper plan is needed and it should be drawn up in conjunction with the residents.”
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said a new health centre is planned for the estate, so traffic safety is vital in what has become a massive built-up area. She asked the council for a list of streets that have been taken in charge in Kilminchy, as the council cannot install safety measures in areas that have not been taken in charge.
Cllr Willie Aird said there was a huge responsibility on the county council, as the area includes a large number of local authority houses and traffic-calming measures must be put in place as soon as possible.