BLAKE’S Corner was once again the source of ire among local representatives with one councillor likening the situation to sitcom Fawlty Towers.
The issue arose after Councillor Bill Slattery called on the council to erect protective railings on the outside of the footpath from Linnane’s shop to Griffins and to also place a safety railing on the bridge wall in the interest of safety for school children and pedestrians.
Senior executive engineer for the Ennistymon area, Stephen Lahiffe, explained this was not possible. “The bridge at Blake’s Corner is on the N67 a National Secondary Route. The N67 is maintained by Clare County Council for the National Roads Authority. The National Roads Authority has recently taken over the maintenance of all bridges on the national routes. They have just completed work on the bridge in the last number of weeks. Any alterations to the bridge will have to be approved by the National Roads Authority,” he stated.
Councillor Michael Kelly lamented the centralisation of power over local issues. He said he didn’t like to see the responsibility taken away from the local authority, saying they are familiar with local areas and local priorities.
Councillor Slattery told council officials and members at a meeting he was dissatisfied with the response from the council.
“There are 400 schoolchildren going across there two to three times a day,” he claimed.
“I am asking for a protective bar because I can’t see Blake’s Corner being solved in the next couple of years because the environmental impact study isn’t even done yet,” he added.
Councillor Richard Nagle expressed his dismay at the current situation. “This is a ridiculous situation where buildings are more important than the safety and wellbeing of people. There are regular traffic jams, regular traffic chaos where buses can’t get around the corner going to Lahinch without relying on the goodwill of motorists. This is like something you would see in Fawlty Towers,” he claimed.
Councillor Joe Arkins suggested contacting the NRA to notify them “we have a problem with the height of the wall on the bridge considering the height of the footpath”.
Mr Lahiffe pointed out the council had responsibility for the bridge “until recently but now, we have not”.
“Yes, we will talk to the NRA but not it is not in our capability to do [the work] ourselves,” he concluded.