*Local resident and former councillor, Tommy Brennan shows a worn-out bollard by St Flannan’s Drive in Ennis.

RESIDENTS and business owners in Ennis have voiced their frustrations at the difficulties that armadillos and bollards continue to pose in their daily lives.

Installation of traffic calming measures in August 2019 on the Clon Road in Ennis along College View, College Green and St Flannan’s Drive has been a controversial subject in the locality with strong opposition to the bollards and armadillos which surround the double cycle lanes.

At the February meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) had tabled a motion which sought the removal of “one side of the cycle lane, the bollards and armadillos on the road from Éire Óg GAA grounds to St Flannan’s College mainly due to health and safety grounds on a daily basis”.

This motion was later withdrawn by the Mayor of the Ennis MD following opposition from Cllr Paul Murphy (FG), Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) and Cllr Mary Howard (FG).

Ennis hotelier, John Madden told The Clare Echo said he narrowly avoided a serious accident on the stretch of the road in the past week. The proprietor of The Temple Gate Hotel stated that he had to take a sudden turn to avoid a car coming against him at speed, he said he was very fortunate this was at a section where there was no bollards as if it was further up or back the road the damage would have been substantial. Madden had not been aware of the matter going before the Ennis MD prior to speaking to The Clare Echo.

Residents have highlighted how dirty the bollards have become and that a road sweeper has rarely been sighted on the 1.2km stretch in the last four years.

Mark Sutton of Sutton’s Lighting told The Clare Echo that the installation of the bollards and armadillos has impacted his business. “It has hit my business, there’s no doubt about it and it is no different to what they are doing in town, it hits people’s businesses. When people are used to driving on a road and next thing it is more narrow and bollards are there which they are hitting off, they will only come once and then they will go somewhere else, that is human nature and we can’t stop there. I was told from day one by a customer they are trying to stop trucks coming down but how are we and Mangans supposed to get our stuff, it is not working and it is proven that it is not working by the state of the road now with armadillos all over the place, bollards are hanging and are on the ground, there is no maintenance done of it, who is cleaning them, they are filthy, they look disgusting and the road is disgusting”.

Acting senior executive engineer in the Ennis MD, Paddy Tiernan confirmed that the current cycle lanes on Clonroadmore will be upgraded as part of the Clarecastle to Ennis Active Travel Scheme. “This project will be the next to be undertaken following the completion of the Tulla Road Cycle Scheme. The Clarecastle to Ennis scheme will be designed to modern standards with all existing bollards and armadillos removed. These will not be replaced”. Speeding issues led to the installation of the infrastructure in Clonroadmore, he said, “the current scheme has achieved these goals. The removal of any or all of the elements of the current scheme at this time is likely to result in increased traffic speed leading to potential accidents”.

Residents have argued that very few cyclists are using the infrastructure. Mark had been involved with Clare Cycling for years and his brother Barry continues to have an involvement. “There’s very few people using them but don’t get me wrong there is some people using them and kids using them which is great to see but most of them go outside the lane or on the footpath which is what they’re doing, they will say different but all anyone needs to do is come here and watch them. Nobody is against the cyclists and we never were, I’ve been involved with Clare Cycling for years and my brother still is, we’re not against cyclists”.

He added, “Personally speaking I think the cyclists are not in favour of it, you will get a few kids using it but that is no problem and there is room for everybody. At the moment they are causing a lot of hassle for business but also for elderly and young people driving, they are hopping off cars and the Council have recognised this but they are not saying how many wing-mirrors or tyres have been damaged. Accountability is the biggest problem here, we never got to discuss what was going ahead we were told what was happening. We had a meeting with Clare County Council and some councillors but the Council brushed us off a small bit, they didn’t want to know what we were talking about. I asked why didn’t St Flannan’s College open up their car park to clear up the car parking and the road but no they put a zebra crossing and a railing around to back up the whole traffic. Accountability is a big problem with Clare County Council, they have to stand up and say who decided to do this, why were people not consulted from day one but it was never done”.

E-scooters are posing a further safety risk, Sutton warned. “We now have e-scooters coming up and down the road, they are hitting bollards and somebody is going to get killed here by an armadillo, a car can’t go anywhere here, they can’t go left or right”. He said, “A person ran across the road here one day, he ran across the road to avoid two cars coming, he hit an armadillo, bust his nose and teeth, he ended up breaking his nose, he was in an awful way, he got to hospital and as far as I know he has gone further with this. People are not comfortable walking this road”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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