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Gardai collect an errant wheel at the scene of an historic crash on Shanaway Road. Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis junction like ‘Russian Roulette’ for drivers


DRIVERS are “taking risks every single day” at a notorious road junction in Ennis, with one councillor likening it to “Russian Roulette”.

The frustrations of residents on the Shanaway Road who are awaiting road safety improvements were highlighted at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District.

An update from the roads design team on any progress made regarding the exit from Shanaway road onto Lahinch Road was sought by Councillor Mark Nestor following contact from residents.

The meeting was told by council officials that designs for Active Travel Measures are being developed.

Michael O’Grady, Executive Engineer, stated, “The Road Design Office have recently completed a topographical survey of the N85 from Claureen roundabout to the start of the speed limit zone, conceptual design options for Active Travel Measures are being developed for this area, the Shanaway Road junction is being incorporated in these designs.”

Councillor Nestor acknowledged the response and welcomed the survey however he continued, “that’s all well and good, but what residents on the ground want is to hear there is a time frame in place, for the plans to be signed off on and for the work to be done on the ground.”

The councillor acknowledged his fellow elected representatives for their efforts in keeping the Shanaway junction on the agenda.

Councillor Mary Howard commented that while councillors continue to bring up the issue, “it feels like we are scratched records going no where”.

She asked, “What is it going to take TII to take cognisance of the junction, is it going to take a road death?”

She recalled there had been three “bad accidents” in quick succession last year, and fortunately nobody was hurt, however, “in only a matter of inches people could have been very hurt”.

She pointed out there are thousands of residents in the locality, alongside those who are using the golf club, Woodstock Hotel and Banner GAA with traffic increasing.

She stated that parents bringing their children to Inch school are using back roads, suitable for “nothing more than a horse and cart” in order to avoid the junction. “People are taking risks
every single day. It’s like Russian roulette for some parents.”

She insisted, “It’s time to bite the bullet and get tough with TII, is it going to take a fatality for them to stand up?”

She concluded, “In the mornings it’s a nightmare and it’s frightening to watch.”

Councillor Johnny Flynn voiced his support for the need for road safety measures saying, “The issue need to be urgently resolved.”

He said that the residents have endured “a dreadful impact on their quality of life”, adding this is a “public safety issue”.

He commented that the council’s road design office “must be pulling their hair out at the intransigence of TII”.

The councillor added that road safety measures should be put in place in advance of Active Travel measures.

Councillor Pat Daly commented that residents on the Shanaway Road are “getting very impatient”.

He said that despite thousands of people now living in the area and the golf club, GAA club and hotel “it’s still the same junction for the last forty years”.

He added, “We worked on Corrovorrin junction and there is no reason why we can’t in Shanaway,” suggesting a temporary small roundabout could be put in place.

Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy sought a briefing meeting between councillors and John Gannon, senior executive engineer at Clare County Council’s Road Office.

Carmel Kirby, Director of Physical Development pointed out that TII had indicated it would not support a proposed solution with the road design office trying to progress the project under Active Travel. She stated the project is still “very active”.

Eamon O’Dea, executive engineer, outlined that the council had made adjustments to the plan in response to TII and are now on their third iteration.

Councillor Nestor concluded that the seven councillors and Clare County Council are “very committed to the people of Shanaway Road and finding a solution”.

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