Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre O’Brien highlighted the conundrum of local businesses having a duty of care to their patrons despite the footpaths being the responsibility of the local authority.
“Retailers have a duty of care to patrons and shoppers but it is Cork County Council who are the owners of the footpaths,” Ms O’Brien said.
“At the end of the day, if someone falls on a footpath it comes out of Cork County Council insurance, so I think prevention is better than cure.”
During a debate on the issue at County Hall, Director of Roads and Services Padraig Barrett said commercial businesses could come together and apply for the salt bins as a group but the council would not provide salt for private properties.
Mr Barrett said: “The bins or the salt will not be provided for treating any private areas or private car parks and bins will not be provided to individuals or to a single commercial premises.”
Mr Barrett also emphasised the responsibility on retailers and traders to maintain a hazard-free facility.
“Individual commercial property owners are obliged to have adequate arrangements in place to ensure the safety of their employees and visitors,” he said.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Frank O’Flynn complimented his local undertakers for always having salt to hand to which the county mayor quipped: “So the undertakers in Fermoy are interested in people’s health and safety, that seems counter-productive.”
County Chief Executive Tim Lucey said the response from Mr Barrett was clear and businesses should make contact with the council via their local Business Associations who can apply for salt bins using the online application form on the Council website.