*Ballybeg Woods. Photograph: John Mangan
A PROPOSAL is to be forwarded to An Garda Síochána seeking the installation of double yellow lines at the entrance to Ballybeg Woods
“Inappropriate parking” has been cited by executive engineer in the Ennis Municipal District, Barry Conway as justification for their proposal to Gardaí to clamp down on safety concerns outside the popular walking trail located on the outskirts of Ennis. “The double yellow lines will be installed following the consultation with the Gardaí,” he stated.
An appeal to carry out a review of the current situation “which is preventing pedestrians, pedestrians with child buggies, and wheelchair users from using the footpath, thereby forcing them to walk on the road,” was sought by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF). The ongoing parking on the footpath poses “health and safety concerns,” she believed.
Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis MD, Cllr Colleran Molloy the “wonderful work” ongoing in Ballybeg. The addition of a new footpath was hailed as “truly fabulous”. More people are using the footpath instead of the car park for parking, she flagged. One local woman highlighted the issue with Colleran Molloy having had to move out on the road while walking with her elderly mother who uses a zimmer-frame. Bollards could be considered “but that is too harsh, it is about building awareness in Ballybeg that there is ample parking in the car park”.
Continued use of the footpaths for parking is “frustrating,” Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) commented. “It often reminds me of what we say about parking in Ennis, people want to park right outside the shop, here they want to park in the wood”. The addition of yellow lines would be welcome but require enforcement, the Clarecastle representative maintained. The presence of Gardaí with speed traps in recent weeks was praised, “it is good to see them clamping down on the speed”.
According to Cllr Pat Daly (FF), “the problem is the woods have got too popular, they are beautiful woods”. An expansion of the existing car park was suggested, “parking on the main road is fine but it is dangerous, the most I’d ever see is three or four cars in the car park”.
Support for the yellow lines was voiced by Cllr Mary Howard (FG), “there is a car park further up that is very safe and has plenty of space, there is no need to use the main road for parking”.
Appropriate signage to direct motorists to the car park is needed, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) maintained. “Maybe the car park needs to be improved, some people feel the car is vulnerable if it is left there because there isn’t much activity on the road”. This was disputed by Cllr Colleran Molloy, “there’s very little concerns of security, it’s like being in the country and there is ample room in the car park”.
Use of Ballybeg was lauded by Cllr Ann Norton (IND), “it is one thing COVID made us realise that there is a lot of amenities within a five kilometre radius of us”. The current parking habits are placing a hindrance on persons with disabilities, “they are putting them at danger by having to go onto the road, it is something people need to be aware of”.