Councillors at Monday’s Athlone Municipal District meeting voiced their concerns over the dangerous practice of using the Athlone bypass as a shortcut to Bloomfield Drive.
Fianna Fail’s Aengus O’Rourke raised the motion, asking for the municipal district and the National Roads Authority (NRA ) to address the issue of children running across the busy bypass to get to Bloomfield Drive - and his concerns were shared by fellow councillors.
“This has been brought to my attention by concerned residents who say it has been going on since September,” he said.
However Independent councillor Kevin “Boxer” Moran advised that children have been risking their lives on the bypass for “a few years”. “Unfortunately it’s going to come down to someone being killed on the road for something to be done, and it will fall back on us [the council]; it needs to be dealt with,” he said.
Fine Gael councillor John Dolan said it was clear that all councillors agreed with the motion and asked what actions could be taken.
“I hope the NRA could take solid measures to cut out the way the children cross the road,” added Cllr O’Rourke.
“Residents were going to put up fencing but then there’s a risk the children will be stuck on the motorway,” said Cllr Moran.
In response, director of services Barry Kehoe said that it was “absolutely outrageous” for children to be taking such a risk by crossing the bypass.
The council executive said that they would bring the issue to the attention of the NRA and their maintenance contractor who are responsible for that section of the road.