Local councillors have been accused of “gross misconduct” after a campaign to increase the number of speed ramps in a Moate housing estate where a toddler was killed two years ago was turned down on engineering grounds.
The residents association of the Coillín Búi estate on the Clara road had sought the additional traffic calming measures in the aftermath of the tragic accident that claimed the life of two-year-old Dylan Murray-Finneran in September 2010.
Though the council installed one ramp at the exit from the 28-house, cul de sac estate, it deemed the gap between the the proposed others to be too close to be effective.
“There is no excuse for such gross misconduct. Refusal to protect the public from further tragedy on Coillín Búi will result in notorous publicity to our hold-no-surgeries, never-answer-letters, couldn’t-give-a-damn local councillors,” it stated in an open letter from the residents association to the county council, which has also been put up around the town.
“The council has its priorities wrong, that’s how we see it,” said assistant secretary to the resident’s association, Esta Carter, a retired town surveyor.
“We only want them on the blind bends, not on the access roads. They put in stupid car parks then wouldn’t listen to us, like we’re just a nuisance,” she added.
“I’ve dropped letters into his house, but never heard a dicky bird,” Ms Carter continued.
However, Cllr Tom Allen refuted the suggestion that he had dragged his feet on the issue.
“The engineer came out and looked at it. There’s only a few feet between the bends, and for someone to pick up speed between them would be practically impossible,” he said.
“I have to commend Westmeath County Council and the engineer. He’s come out to Coillín Búi every time he was asked, but we’ve to look at all the different aspects of the problem you’re trying to solve,” he continued.
“There may be one more ramp, but funding may be needed elsewhere. There’s definitely no need for three. I’ve sat in my car in that estate for some time, and at no time did I see anyone driving dangerously in that estate,” he concluded.