25 May 2022

Canal becomes a dangerous death trap in Kilkenny

Kilkenny Lookback

The front page of the Kilkenny People from 50 years ago this week carried a call to Kilkenny Corporation to make the Canal Walk safe

Here's what was making the news in the Kilkenny People 50 years ago this week - April 16, 1971:
Over three months ago a £4,500 improvement scheme for the Canal Walk, Kilkenny was passed by the Corporation and sent to the Department for sanction.
And that is the last that has been heard of it.
But all the time the Canal is deteriorating rapidly. And not only is a beautiful walk becoming more ugly, but the dangers for children - and even adults - are increasing.
Not far from the entrance to the Walk, the river bank is crumbling away. Even the hedge adjoining the river is slipping into the water.
It is highly dangerous, particularly for young children, and something will just have to be done about it soon.
Since the opening of the Castle Park and the doorway from the Park to the Canal Walk, more people are now using the Canal.
As well, summer is fast approaching and many more people with young children will be using the Walk for afternoon and evening strolls.
Will one of their casual and pleasant strolls end in tragedy for some unfortunate family?
The dangers are all too real. Pressure will have to be put on the Department to speed up sanction.
The Canal Walk will have to be made safe. It could be a tremendous amenity for the city - linked as it is to the Castle Park. But at the moment it is little more than a death trap.
An unprecedented wave of hooliganism, vandalism, shoplifting, thuggery, bottle smashing. car stealing and larceny is sweeping Kilkenny at present.
Elderly people and those living alone in the Ossory Park area complain of being terrified by hooligans breaking their windows and kicking their doors.
On average eight to 10 cars are broken into in the city every weekend. Some are stolen.
A city trader said shoplifting now seems to have become a national past-time.
In some city shops, store detectives have now been appointed.
Some 2,400 milk bottles are either taken or broken in the city every week.
Even church collections are not safe. Money is taken regularly from collection plates.
At Monday's Corporation meeting, grave concern was expressed at the rapidly increasing trend of vandalism and thuggery in the city.
Ald M McGuinness said he had received a very serious letter from an old person in Ossory Park about vandals throwing stones at windows and kicking the door.
“With general blackguardism by groups of young thugs it is almost impossible for people to get sleep at night,” he said.
He had spoken to the Gardai about it but they said they were getting no co-operation from parents. The Gardai couldn't be blamed for what was happening.
Is the Nore, once a clean and sparkling river, to follow the sad fate of such polluted and dead rivers as the Dodder and Tolka in Dublin?
Present indications would seem to suggest that it is certainly on the way.
On Thursday of last week, a ’People reporter and photographer noticed an oil slick on the river covering about one-third of the width from bank to bank.
They traced it upstream and it seemed to emanate from somewhere around John's Bridge
On several occasions recently, ’People staff men have noticed oil in the River Nore and a member of the Kilkenny Anglers Association has reported that for at least seven successive Sunday mornings he has observed a slick on the Nore.
Now, the anglers’ association are asking all their members, and all interested people, to report any pollution immediately so that the source can be located. And they promise to take action immediately.
Oil, however, is not the river’s only problem. “Detergents, chemicals, solvents, acids and raw sewage all contribute very much to pollution,” says Mr Paddy Troy, secretary of the Kilkenny Anglers Association, who keeps a close eye on the river in the interests of his club.
The pollution on the Nore is not a major problem at present but the state of the river is constantly deteriorating.
And this is happening despite repeated appeals to industry and business, and also to the public in general.

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