Many Irish footpaths are “beyond repair” and should be completely resurfaced, according to a Green Party councillor.
Dublin Cllr Donna Cooney was speaking after it was reported that local authorities have paid out almost €150m in compensation claims after trips and falls on footpaths and roads since 2017.
The Irish Independent reports that nearly 10,000 personal injury claims have been brought against local councils – around five claims per day.
Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford have the highest rates of claims per 100 thousand people, while Donegal and Laois have the lowest.
County Longford came fourth, despite having one of the smallest populations in the country.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Cllr Cooney said local authorities have a responsibility to keep footpaths in good condition.
“Generally, every single pavement should be walkable upon and whether we are legally responsible or not, we are morally responsible,” she said.
“We have an older person working group and it is one of the things we’ve been looking at.
“If an older person has a fall, it really sets them back in terms of their wellbeing. Even if they recover fully from the accident, it can really set them back
“It is incumbent upon us to have our pavements in really good condition.”
Not all the claims were successful and, in some cases, joint liability is agreed – meaning a claimant may only receive half the award.
Cllr Cooney said the figures highlight the state of many footpaths around the country.
“We should be getting those pavements fixed and we shouldn’t really be having those claims,” she said.
“The fact we have 6,000 claims, whether some of them are genuine or not, is an indication of the bad state of the pavements.”
She said local authorities should dip into their Active Travel budget to resurface the worst footpaths.
“Walking is a means of active transport,” she said. “We can’t do that if we don’t have decent, good pavements so just get on with that.
“Some of those pavements really are beyond repair. With a little patch job here and there, it just ends up sinking and falling so they really need to be redone – I mean, some of them are 100 years old.”