Donegal County Council has been asked to distribute more salt bins to estates and treat more footpaths in the Letterkenny area.
As the arctic airflow hits Donegal this week, the council has heard of people housebound in estates, businesses suffering and carers unable to reach their clients due to unsafe paths.
Letterkenny-Milford Councillor Gerry McMonagle called on the Municipal District to form a plan for greater salting services in the town.
After observing the town yesterday afternoon, Cllr McMonagle said: “There are no cars, nobody walking, businesses are going to suffer if people can’t get out and about.”
He raised safety concerns over people walking on roads because they cannot walk on untreated footpaths. He suggested that community workers could be mobilised alongside council staff to spread salt during times of bad weather.
Cllr McMonagle also highlighted a dangerous situation in many housing estates, where the main roads are gritted, but residents are housebound. He explained that people with mobility issues are suffering, in particular, while carers cannot access patients.
Cllr McMonagle suggested that the council should provide more salt bins for communities.
Currently, the council’s policy is that they do not provide salt bins “as a rule”. It is up to community groups to buy and maintain their own bunkers, and then the council may agree to replenish the bins with salt or grit when required.
For the council to provide grit bins would cost €165,000 per 500 bins. It would cost €50,000-€100,000 to maintain the bins thereafter, members were told.
Cllr McMonagle responded to say that claims from slips and falls are a greater cost to the council.
The motion was discussed at yesterday’s Letterkenny-Milford MD meeting, at which the executive agreed that more use of the Community Employment scheme is worth exploring down the line.