Officials in Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have been scorned for creating “ridiculous hazards” across Kilrush and North Clare through the existing speed limits.

In a proposal before the West Clare Municipal District, Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) appealed to Clare County Council to make a submission to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to reinstate lower speed limits of 50km/h to what he called “the original Kilrush Town boundaries”.

He argued that this was needed “in the interest of public safety and due to the lack of adequate infrastructure”. Lynch wanted the submission to be made urgently and not to wait until the next speed limit review but for the public consultation on the review to commence.

Senior staff officer in the West Clare MD, Steve Lahiffe said the request would be issued to the TII. He explained, “A speed limit review is initiated by the TII. The public consultation phase must be conducted in accordance with the statutory guidelines, however the West Clare MD will ask the Roads department that the public consultation will be carried out as early as allowed under the guidelines when the review is initiated”.

TII made the recommendation to put most of Kilrush under a 60km zone “but they were adopted by us,” Cllr Lynch recalled in reference to councillors serving prior to the 2019 local elections. “It is a contradiction when you look at the current Programme for Government and the amount of spending on Active Travel. TII are responsible for infrastructure not just roads but also footpaths,” he stated. The Kilrush man was adamant the Council was “duty bound to bring the speed limit back down because people are still walking on the roads”.

As he seconded the proposal, Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) commented, “Kilrush has been a wonderful town and always has been, it is the gateway to Loop Head, it is the gateway to regular traffic of 50,000 people passing on a regular basis. People deserve safe traffic, we don’t want road accidents”.

Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) observed that what Cllr Lynch highlighted was “a problem around the whole county”. He stressed the need to start preparing for engagement with TII and public consultation. Issues associated with “rat runs and speed limits in places like Bellharbour to Kilshanny which are 80km/h, whoever did it wasn’t living in the area because they have little regard to safety”. Garrihy added, “Somebody drove around our roads with their eyes closed and did not see the ridiculous hazards they were putting in place”.

It’s management by reductive thinking, they are putting in management controls which reduces levels of responsibility to what can be done with infrastructure,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) noted. He felt it was “absolutely bonkers” to have a 80km/h zone outside Tesco in Kilrush due to the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD insisted it was never too early to start gauging the views of the public.

Concluding the discussion, Cllr Lynch remarked, “In Kilrush there are number of areas that are in the maximum speed limit area that would have had potential to zone lands, we are in a housing crisis but these areas can’t be zoned because of the maximum speed limit”.

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