CRITICISM of the road repairs budget ahead of an international Ironman event in Youghal has been dismissed as “negative” and a “non-problem.”
Deputy Mayor and Independent Councillor Mary Linehan Foley said that she was flabbergasted by “negative comments” about the roadworks needed ahead of Ironman Youghal.
The event will attract 2,500 athletes this summer and bring almost €8m to the local economy over the next three years.
It involves a 180km bike ride, a 3.8k swim and a full marathon, meaning road surfaces will need to be up to scratch to ensure the safety of competitors. The council has set aside €575,000 for road repairs ahead of the event but there are concerns that other roads will lose out as a result.
Sinn Féin Councillor Danielle Twomey said road repairs for the Ironman Youghal route should be funded from a separate fund, outside of the normal municipal district road repairs resources.
She said: “I am delighted East Cork is to host Ironman Youghal. It will be a huge boost from an economic and tourist point of view, but I think that Cork County Council need to cover all the cost of repairs. I don’t feel any money from the local roads budget should be used for the Ironman Youghal route.”
Ms Linehan Foley, who lives in Youghal, took exception to the position adopted by Ms Twomey and urged people to be more supportive of the event, which will take place in Youghal for the next three years.
Councillors Michael Hegarty, Susan McCarthy, Michael Ahern and Kevin Conway all supported Ms Linehan Foley and dismissed what they called negative comments.
Mr Hegarty said it was an Ironman competition, not a ‘Cottonman’ competition and the exposure and airtime that it will bring will be phenomenal. “Everyone is delighted with it and all Cork County Council is trying to do is to promote the natural benefits of Youghal.”
Director of Environmental Services Louis Duffy also defended the council’s approach.
“Cork County Council was at the forefront of Ironman Youghal and a key part in securing other state support. This event will add significant value to East Cork.”
Mr Duffy said that this would be a three-year boost for East Cork and would showcase east Cork to many. In terms of the roads, Mr Duffy said there was a number of small sections that required work.