SERIOUS concern has been expressed about speeding through the village of Clooney, despite recent measures to slow traffic there to 50kph.
The matter was raised at the recent meeting of Killaloe district councillors, when Councillor Pat Hayes called for the speed limit reduction to be extended on the Ennis side of the village. After being told that limits are reviewed every five years by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), Councillor Hayes urged the Council to use an appeals mechanism to progress the issue.
“Exceptional work has been done in Clooney and I’m only talking about the Ennis side of the village,” Councillor Hayes said. “We are all very proud of the work and a fine job has been done. If anyone is assessing the situation from the Ennis side, you’ll see that the speed signs are on the bend. You’re in the village before you see them. They are hidden to some degree.”
The Caher man thanked the Council for a response to his motion which outlined that TII’s most recent review of speed limits in Clare was in 2018. The reply also explained how an internal appeals process works.
“Waiting for two years isn’t going to resolve the issue,” Councillor Hayes said. “The present signage is not in the appropriate place. How far out we go is a matter for discussion. We have power to act and I would hope to progress quicker that what the reply says. There are great plans for future developments on the part of residents and the extension of the lower speed limit would put better traffic control in place.”
Killaloe Municipal District Cathaoirleach, Councillor Alan O’Callaghan seconded the motion. “Can we amend these limits now or do we have to wait?” he asked. “There are a few more areas where we have these issues. Should we build up a database of areas? Going to Tulla, the 80kmph sign is halfway out the road and there’s an issue in Kilkishen also.”
Executive Engineer Declan Flanagan said the sight lines on the approach to Clooney are clear. “The 50kmph limit starts before the village,” he said. “There is additional driver feedback signage added and vegetation can be cut back. There is an appeals process if there is pressure on the speed limits to be reviewed. Clare County Council has a board that will review if there is a request for an appeal.”
Councillor Hayes proposed that the appeals system be used. “People are flying in before they realise the speed limit is lower,” he said. “That’s the feedback I’m getting. You might put up the warning signs as well. We can’t really be waiting for two to three years to address this.”
Councillor Joe Cooney said he could see Councillor Hayes’s point. “This is happening in a number of villages on regional roads,” he said. “In Bodyke, we had the Senior Engineer come out to meet people about their concerns. There was an active member of An Garda out there for while. Maybe that’s the answer and something we need to look at.”
Councillor Pat Burke said the situation in Bodyke had also brought to his attention. “Unfortunately, drivers don’t pay need to signage,” he said. “This is all down to driver behaviour, there’s no doubt about that.”
Councillor O’Callaghan said the flashing speed signs were located past the speed limit. “There’s a Garda there filling the book everyday. In the next life, we might have all have autonomous cars.”
Senior Executive Officer Morgan Lahiffe said: “From what I see down through the years, everyrone wants the speed limit reduced outside their house. In December 2021, a change was made. Any member of public can write to the Council to ask for review of a speed limit. We will bring this to the review panel which is made of Clare County Council and the Gardai. I couldn’t tell you outcome, but such is the procedure. I’m sure you get lots of requests every year. This system is for particular areas of concern.”
Councillor Hayes asked that councillors might proceed and test the process. “This is a serious concern to the people who live there,” he said. “Clooney has a number of active local groups. This is a very busy stretch of road.”
A written response to the motion from Senior Executive Engineer (SEE) outlined the TII process for reviewing speed limits. It said that the most recent review had been done in 2018 and came into force in 2019.
“No date has been fixed for the next speed limit review,” the response stated. It added that: “A member of the public can object to and appeal an existing speed limit contained with the local authority’s current Speed Limit Bye-Laws. The appeal is made to Clare County Council Appeals Panel. If speed limits are to be amended, as a result of appeals, they will go before a Council meeting once a year for consideration. Killaloe Municipal District will refer this request, in accordance with Clare County Council Speed Limits Appeals Procedure.”
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 065 6864146.