Walkers no longer using Cork amenity as 'poor lighting makes it unsafe' 

Following the murder of Ashling Murphy, walkers and runners fear solar lights installed on a section of the former Crosshaven-Cork railway are too dim, making the area unsafe, councillors told
Walkers no longer using Cork amenity as 'poor lighting makes it unsafe' 

Roses placed on the bridge across the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run last Wednesday afternoon. Picture: David Young/PA Wire

Some walkers and runners have stopped using a popular Cork amenity following the murder of Ashling Murphy over fears that the solar lights installed there are too dim, making the area unsafe.

The lights were installed on a section of the former Crosshaven-Cork railway a couple of years ago to reduce excessive light which could disturb wading birds in the estuary.

A meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District Council has now heard calls for major improvements.

“After the terrible incident with Ashling Murphy, as a parent and woman I would not be comfortable walking in this area on a dark evening now at all, I would need a few people with me to feel safe. I'm hearing the same thing from others within the community,” Fianna Fáil councillor Audrey Buckley said.

The solar lights were installed along the section between Rabbit Island and O'Leary's Cross.

“They do make a difference, but not enough to feel safe walking or running on your own,” she said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath said the solar lights “were fine from an ecological point of view” as they were in a Special Area of Conservation, but maintained they weren't bright enough and only focused directly on the pathway.

“We need some form of improved lighting there which doesn't interfere with the environment,” Mr McGrath said.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Paul Murtagh, who is a fireman, said he used to run there himself “but you couldn't see beyond the sides of the paths. I understand the need for such lighting because of the birds, but it is inadequate. We need more thinking on this as it's an extremely well-used area.”  

Fine Gael councillor Jack White said since Ms Murphy's murder there had been a “strange atmosphere” along the walkway, which he described “as understandable”. 

Independent councillor Marcia D'Alton said the installation of the solar lights for environmental reasons had been a good idea initially, but maintained it was apparent they were not safe.

Following the debate, councillors asked their officials to carry out a lighting survey on the walkway to see if any improvements could be made to ensure it was better lit.

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