Crash site junction putting schoolchildren’s lives at risk

Cllr Tom Connolly

Cllr Tom Connolly

Claremorris based councillor, Tom Connolly, said he is dreading the day he wakes up to news of a road traffic fatality involving schoolchildren at a dangerous junction outside a Gaelscoil just off the N17 at Lochan na mBan.

Cllr Connolly, speaking at a meeting on Wednesday of the Claremorris Municipal District, said he fears it will take a horror multiple fatality smash, similar to the one in which four students lost their lives at a notorious accident blackspot on the N17 between Ballindine and Milltown in 2009, for the National Roads Authority to wake up to the serious risks posed by the busy junction.

Some 110 pupils attend the school in question - Gaelscoil Uileog de Burca.

Cllr Connolly referenced a letter he had received from Inspector Shane Cummins, which confirmed there have already been six accidents at the junction.

“I don’t want to wake up one morning to hear that a juggernaut has crashed into a school bus and there are fatalities,” he said.

“It took something like that [accident in Galway] for work to be done there.”

Cllr Connolly said he had raised the issue numerous times in the past.

“The NRA came out, did a safety audit, and put down two white lines on the road. It is not sufficient. This has to be addressed again.”

He said the road needed to be widened and a proper turn-off lane provided for the school for buses, parents, and teachers, who he said are having to take their lives in their hands as it currently stands.

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