Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the ESB to assure people that paths in Macroom’s Gearagh would be restored.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after machinery brought in to carry out conservation and maintenance work churned up paths leaving parts of them impassable.
“I have no doubt that the work carried out was of great importance to the Gearagh, especially after the effects of Storm Ophelia,” she said.
“However, the Gearagh is used by a large number of people, particularly among the local community, and an assurance that paths will be restored as soon as possible would go a long way to allaying any fears regular users may have.
“With that in mind I have written to landowners the ESB, who have a statutory responsibility when it comes to the conservation and protection of the Gearagh, to raise these concerns and seek assurances that the paths will be returned to a useable condition.
“I have asked them to explain the nature of the work; whether it is ongoing or will continue in the near future and what remedial works will be, or are being undertaken to return the paths to a useable condition.
“I also reminded them that the Gearagh is a Special Area of Conservation and regardless of what work is required within it they have a duty to remember that and act with the greatest care when they enter it. We expect visitors to the Gearagh to treat it with the utmost respect and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to expect the same of the ESB.
“I will report back to the local community as soon as I receive a response. The Gearagh is a national treasure and especially beloved by the local community, it’s important that it is not only preserved and protected but remains open and accessible to everybody.”