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*Photograph: Martin Connolly

Calls for a 30kph speed limit to be introduced throughout the town of Ennis have been voiced by the county’s first citizen.

Speaking at this month’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) expressed her desire to see a 30kph speed limit extended throughout the town of Ennis “regardless of it being a flash point or an estate”.

She referenced equivalents in Spain at maintaining a set speed limit throughout an area. “The best way to keep residents safe is to keep and maintain a low speed limit”.

Her comments came during a discussion which spawned in response to a proposal from Cllr Mark Nestor (FF). He appealed for speed ramps to be placed at the entrance and exit at Castlewood Park, “residents are extremely concerned with the level and speed of traffic in the area,” he flagged.

Currently Castlewood Park is one of the pilot 30kph residential speed limit zones in Ennis.

Existing traffic calming measures are in place at the estate, senior executive engineer Eamon O’Dea noted. “The speed survey following the introduction of the 30kph speed limit showed an average speed of 27kph”. He said a further survey would be conducted to determine if additional measures were needed.

Speed and traffic is at the heart of the concerns, Cllr Nestor outlined. He informed the meeting that Castlewood Park was located between Hazelwood Park and St Michaels Villas. “It is being used as a rat run,” Nestor stated. The amount of on=street parking is increasing the risk of a potential accident, he believed.

A high volume of traffic passes through the estate, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) detailed including young families and students of St Flannan’s College. “Castlewood Park is quite an unusual estate with that they are so many other housing estates connected to it,” she said in seconding the motion.

It was positive to see a collective backing for reduced speed limits in residential areas by councillors, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) commented. “The traffic there is unbelievable,” Cllr Pat Daly (FF) maintained as he referenced motorists coming from Captain Macs cross towards Castlewood Park and Tobearteascain.

Speed limits can be in place but are sometimes not observed, Mayor of Ennis Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) reminded his colleagues. “I see a lot of poor behaviour from drivers and cyclists, it is about getting a behavioural change”.

His sentiments on behavioural change were endorsed by O’Dea. He felt a new system should be introduced that drivers when renewing their insurance or NCT should have to do a review on the rules of the road.

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