An elderly lady who slipped on a wet Armagh city centre footpath had to wait over an hour in the rain before an ambulance arrived.
While the 60-plus minute wait for an ambulance – described as “horrific” by one city councillor – was a concern, the issue of Armagh’s granite footpaths – lethal when wet – was the main problem arising from this particular incident.
As a result, SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon has called for urgent action to address ongoing issues with footpaths in Armagh.
“The granite footpaths in Armagh city centre are notoriously slippery and indeed dangerous when wet,” explained Councillor O’Hanlon.
“Just last week an elderly lady slipped and fell on Scotch Street and was badly injured. She spent over an hour on the pavement in the pouring rain waiting on an ambulance. It must have been horrific.”
“The paths can be slippery when wet and during periods of cold weather, snow and ice can make them a nightmare to navigate. However, even when wet on any day they can be very slippery, and this isn’t helped by the lack of maintenance leaving some areas of paving green or black with dirt and grime.
Councillor O’Hanlon said the Council needs “to get our own house in order” and improve the maintenance and upkeep of the footpaths.
“A power washing scheme ensuring all the new paths are washed at least twice annually would make a significant improvement, not just making them cleaner and safer but also improving them visually.
“Look at the paths from St Patrick’s Church Of Ireland Cathedral, through Abbey Street, Dawson Street, Edward Street, Cathedral Road and English Street. These are so-called tourist areas, and the paths are filthy. I’ve raised this before.
“On the paths in the town centre in areas such as Ogle Street, Thomas Street, Market Street and Scotch Street need to be reviewed, including surface treatments and drainage. I appreciate the solution may not be easy but there needs to be a serious attempt to make them safer and less hazardous. The surface water just ran down the paths last week like waterfalls – the drainage or indeed the lack of it must be addressed.
“Council Officers are due to meet with Department of infrastructure / Roads Service representatives in the coming days and I have asked that this issue be reviewed before someone else falls.”