*Photograph: Patrick Thomas Howard
One Meelick homeowner has been forced to make repairs to her property on three occasions in the past year and a half due to repeated accidents at Brennan’s Cross, an elected representative has said.
“Recurring accidents” prompted Cllr Michael Begley (IND) to call on Clare County Council to review signage and traffic calming measures at Brennan’s Cross plus the inclusion of remedial works in next year’s road programme. Increased traffic volume created an “extremely dangerous” situation for cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles in the area, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) said as he requested alignment works at the junction.
A low cost safety scheme was completed at the junction in 2017, senior executive engineer Aidan O’Rourke stated in his reply to the Independent councillors. A road accident issue was not prevalent according to the Council’s road accident database, he flagged.
O’Rourke added, “The cause of traffic-related collisions is most likely associated with driver behaviour including excessive speed and driver distraction and these issues may best be dealt with through educational or advertising campaigns. A review of the measures in place at this junction will be carried out to determine the extent of this issue”.
Speaking at the November meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, Cllr Begley expressed his disappointment with the comments of the senior engineer. He said the matter was an issue going back to his first election to the County Council in 1981. “A certain amount of safety measures have been put in with regard to road markings but it needs to be looked at more seriously. Driver related conditions happen all over the country and county”.
Boundary walls and gates at the property of one Meelick woman have had to be repaired three times over the last year and a half, Cllr Begley said. “You could say this was a driver caused accident but it doesn’t show up on the radar because there was only the car of the driver and property of nearest house damaged”.
Absence of major accidents was “due to the vigilance of the local people who know what to expect and take exceptional caution,” the Clonlara representative believed. He surmised that the stop sign to the junction from the Meelick direction was “in the wrong place or is too high”.
Cllr Ryan admitted that he was “totally disillusioned with the answer” from O’Rourke. Bus drivers “almost have to get out of the bus” to determine the extent of oncoming traffic” at the junction. He warned, “There is a fatality going to happen if we don’t do something about it. When our last Co Dev Plan was put in place, we put in a provision to reconfigure the cross and I don’t see why we can’t do it”.
Despite remaining a regularly discussed item, Cllr Pat O’Gorman noted that actions regarding Brennan’s Cross were insufficient. “That part of our county is a boundary with Limerick City and there is a major volume of traffic, three major housing estates are fed by that cross. If some major accident happened in the morning, we would be down there the next day doing the job”.