Cork City Council has effectively ruled out more consultation on route options for a greenway upgrade despite controversy and criticism of the process.
Gardaí have also distanced the organisation from a ‘garda’ submission made during the non-statutory public consultation on route options for phase two of the Passage railway greenway upgrade.
The submission, which claimed to represent the views of An Garda Siochána, argued against routing the upgrade from Harty’s Quay to Hop Island along the shores of the Douglas estuary, behind a row of houses, citing residents’ security concerns.
But the force said it was not made through official channels, and does not represent the organisation’s view on the project.
In a statement, An Garda Siochána said it has a close working relationship with the council and where necessary makes submissions to public consultation programmes through official channels.
“No official submission has been made at this time. Formal submissions in relation to this are submitted through the office of the Chief Superintendent - any other submission is deemed a personal submission,” it said.
The submission fuelled existing controversy about the emerging preferred route for the greenway upgrade, which City Hall plans to run along the Rochestown Road, which will be significantly upgraded to accommodate it.
This is despite 75% of respondents to the public consultation favouring the shore route.
And while the council has ruled out further consultation on the route, it has stressed that the greenway upgrade along the road will be subject to more detailed consultation later.
In a statement last night, the council said the ‘garda’ submission was one of over 300 submissions.
“The points raised in it mirror many of the points raised in other submissions,” a spokesperson said.
“The city council treats each submission with equal respect irrespective of the source, whether it be from an individual or organisation.
“We’re confident that the next round of non-statutory public consultation and subsequent statutory public consultation will result in a robust inclusive process.”
Gardaí are expected to make a formal input at this stage.
Independent Cllr Ken O’Flynn claimed the process to date has been “distorted” while Fine Gael Cllr Des Cahill said a shore route that takes the concerns of residents and the ecological sensitivity of the Special Protection Area into account is the best option, if done correctly.
But Fianna Fáil Cllr Terry Shannon said the entire controversy has been driven by social media before any final plans have been prepared.