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Concern over safety of Ballinrobe walkway


CONCERNS The Bowers Walk in Ballinrobe is popular with walkers but concern has been expressed about lighting on the route.

Oisín McGovern

A MOTHER has appealed for fencing or lighting to be put in place along the Bowers Walk in Ballinrobe after her 14-year-old son fell into a nearby river last Monday night.
The boy was out walking when he fell into the river along an unlit section of the path near the metal footbridge. He fell into a shallow section of the river and raised the alarm before being helped to safety by a male passer-by. The boy did not suffer any injuries as a result of his fall.
His mother, Evelina Vainoriene, said that she was ‘very much concerned’ that a similar incident would occur in future unless action was taken.
“Of course, I understand that teenagers lack awareness, and are often engulfed by their devices. However, the total darkness along the entirety of the Bowers Walk and a lack of any physical guard between the path and the river raises a serious safety concern,” Ms Vainoriene told The Mayo News.
“This decreases the use of this beautiful path and even makes it dangerous - the path isn’t always level, it can be slippery in the rain, and it can be quite narrow at certain points. This is already dangerous for pedestrians, and for cyclists even more so. Many parents I know avoid taking their kids for a walk there.”
The Bowers Walk, which runs along the River Robe, has been a popular outdoor recreational facility in Ballinrobe for many years.
Over €200,000 has been spent on extending the path out to the Creagh Road to create a six-kilometre loop.

No simple solution
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, local county councillor Michael Burke said that fencing could not be considered as it would disturb the heritage of the area.
He also ruled out the installation of lighting due to concerns it could attract anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Burke told The Mayo News that he was aware of a similar incident where a man had fallen into the river during daytime last year.
“We do not encourage walking down there late at night. We have a walkway that’s lit up at night on the Green that’s used at night, in preference to people walking along the river, because it is dangerous. There’s no question about that,” he said.
“I’ve seen that river at times literally up to the footpath. I’ll take it up with the county council to see what options there are, but I wouldn’t see lighting or fencing as an option.”