GARDAÍ are carrying out enquiries to establish “the facts” regarding a submission made to Cork City Council as part of the consultation process for the Passage Railway Greenway.
Last week, elected members of Cork City Council were briefed on the emerging preferred route (EPR) for phase two of the greenway.
The project team identified the possible impact of the adjoining special protection area, as well as security and privacy concerns, as some of the main reasons why coastal routes were not brought forward.
Instead, it plans to route the greenway in front of the houses along the Rochestown Road, despite a majority of submissions to a consultation process preferring a coastal route.
In a letter seen by The Echo, a solicitor representing the Rochestown Area Residents’ and Business Association wrote to An Garda Síochána regarding a submission to the city council as part of the consultation process.
The submission was said to be from “An Garda Síochána” and raised concerns such as a “significant increase in the risk of trespass”.
The letter written by the association’s solicitor states that the submission to the council contradicts An Garda Síochána’s policy “in respect of making public submissions in matters such as this”.
The association said that it had discussions with individual gardaí, who said that there was “minimal anti-social behaviour on the Hop Island to Passage West coastal greenway”.
In a social media post on Tuesday, Cork City Council had said that, as part of a non-statutory public consultation process to help inform early design decision, it had received an online submission from a local Garda station.
“Cork City Council staff followed up on the online submission and were promptly given a name by a local Garda station to formally accompany the submission.”
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána told The Echo that “no official submission” had been made.
“An Garda Síochána has a close working relationship with Cork City Council and, where necessary, make submissions on public consultation programmes through official channels.”
They added that formal submissions in relation to this were submitted through the office of the chief superintendent. Any other submission was deemed a personal submission.
The spokesperson also confirmed that An Garda Síochána was “carrying out enquiries to establish the facts of this incident”.
Speaking to The Echo, a member of the residents’ association, who wished to remain anonymous, called on the city council to review its decision on the preferred route.
“We think that the city council should be taking the opportunity to review this overall result.”
Meanwhile, residents from St Gerard’s Place and Island View have said that they were “overjoyed” by last week’s decision.
Resident Donal Collins, who represents a total of 32 homes in the area, said that, if there were to be any changes, they would be “utterly dejected”.
“We would be very disappointed. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. That’s the last thing we want.”
Another resident, Liz Horgan said that the coastal route would be “literally at the bottom of the garden”.
“We would have grave concerns about our safety and our security and for the protected area. It’s a specially protected area- It’s protected for a reason.”