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‘Fear of God’ put into Ennis pedestrians & cyclists

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Cyclists and drivers in Ennis have had “the fear of God” put into them while Ireland is suffering from “car addiction”, a recent discussion on traffic calming measures heard.

A review into the Clare County Council’s policy on installing traffic calming measures and cycle lanes was sought by Cllr Gerry Flynn. At present when the Road Design Office is notified that speeding may be an issue at a particular location, speed and volume surveys are undertaken. In addition, the Gardaí may be contacted if the Council is of the view speed limits are not being enforced.

Currently cycle lanes are prioritised “in urban areas, linking residential areas to town centres, employment centres and school locations,” according to John Leahy. The senior engineer within the transportation department confirmed a review in this sector would have to be done as part of the next County Development plan, if requested.

Ongoing controversy on the road linking St Flannan’s College and the Kilrush Rd was referred to by Cllr Gerry Flynn at the Council’s September meeting. “There seems to be a plague on the towns where this is happening, it is an absolute disgrace. It is like they are foisted on communities without considering what implications will arise out of them”. The Independent councillor added, “Notices are being put in local papers about this but the print media is suffering we know that, residents need to be adequately briefed on what is going on. Where calming measures and cycle lanes have a negative affect, I’m asking the County Council to reassess, instead of going to the County Development Plan that we will assess straight away”.

Fellow Independent, Cllr Ann Norton felt, “When people take the time to make submissions, they should be listened to. The fear of God has been put into walkers and cyclists in Ennis, a review needs to be done”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus representative, Cllr Pat McMahon suggested more squad cars from the traffic corps to clamp down on speeding on roads. “The emphasis should be on more squad cars and tackling speed on roads. The wrong emphasis was taken on board, maybe they will learn from that in the future”.

Cllr Johnny Flynn stated the road budget has “€32 to 33m of work to be done which is a very small amount. We are constantly being asked by residents for traffic calming to be incorporated into their area”. Although he agreed with the “spirit of motion”, the Mayor of Ennis commented, “traffic calming is essential. The method of consultation is where the difficulty is, a lot of people can’t read the plans”.

Green Party councillor, Roisin Garvey claimed “There is a car addiction across this country. Every other country that has better health, happier people and more social inclusion had made more of an effort to prioritise people not cars”.

Responding to the comments, Leahy advised councillors to refer to their Municipal District for particular schemes of concern. “Traffic calming schemes are introduced because they were highlighted by elected members or there is a history of accidents”. He noted that personnel offering positive feedback opt not to go as public as they go criticising their work outside St Flannan’s College, “We don’t often get compliments in this job”.

“I disagree with you on getting compliments, this year I’ve never heard as many compliments coming in the direction of the Council Executive particularly with the Irish Open. For the most part, Clare County Council do a good job but I don’t think lip service should be applied to these issues,” Cllr Gerry Flynn replied.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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