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Crusheen plan goes back to drawing board

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a new bus shelter in Crusheen for south-bound passengers have been scrapped, after considerable local opposition.
The village was earmarked for two new shelters after an assessment by the National Transport Authority (NTA). While the existing north-bound bus stop will be upgraded, plans for a new shelter, which would have necessitated moving back the boundary wall of a local housing estate by two metres, will not now proceed.
The council’s decision to seek a new site has been met with relief from Deputy Michael McNamara, among others. “Bus shelters are badly needed but the location must be right,” he said.
“I welcome the decision not to put the south-bound shelter in at the location originally proposed. For residents in Brodagh View, it would have inevitably resulted in people parking in that estate. That’s not what it was designed for.
“When the estate was built, a development contribution was paid to Clare County Council. The council was then looking to benefit on the double by using it as a car park, creating difficulties for residents and additional traffic.”
Councillor Pat Hayes, who had been among the local authority members to advocate for the Crusheen bus shelters, said a number of attempts had been made to find suitable sites. “Proper facilities are needed if people are going to want to use public transport,” he said.
“The council spent a year looking for the second bus shelter site. Their preferred option, for technical reasons, was at Brodagh View. However, from a residents’ point-of-view, that won’t work, so another site will be sought.”
Some local concerns centred on the lack of consultation, which happened by way of a Facebook poll. This prompted concern that the result would not reflect the views of residents and could be skewed by responses from people outside Crusheen. Councillor Hayes said it would not have been feasible for council staff to go door-to-door during the lockdown. On the location of the south-bound shelter, Deputy McNamara suggested one might be considered close to the rail link, as efforts intensify to have the rail stop on the Galway-Limerick line reopened.
“We need to plan for the longer term,” he said. “A carpark should be put in for use by both rail and bus passengers.”
Councillor Hayes also voiced concern about the number of busses serving the village.
“There is a bigger issue here of the reduction of services,” he said. “There are a number of people living in Crusheen and using north and south-bound services for work and other reasons, but now Bus Éireann appears to be scaling back.”
In response to a query from The Champion, Clare County Council said it is “always looking to advance infrastructure in our towns and villages”.
“The need for bus shelters in Crusheen has been highlighted for a number of years now”, a spokesperson said. “While Clare County Council is in a position to upgrade the Galway-bound bus stop in its current location, the Council is not in a position to upgrade the Ennis-bound bus stop in its current location.
“Clare County Council looked to a second option, which involved the use of lands on the Galway side of the village. Through a number of engagements last week and over the weekend, it is clear that there is significant local dissatisfaction with the site of the proposed relocated bus shelter. Having discussed the matter with Councillors, we have taken the decision to step back from the proposal in its current form.
“We will review the situation and look towards another option in the future in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.”

About Fiona McGarry

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 fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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