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Icy weather prompts call for review of East Clare road gritting plan

GREATER efforts must be made to keep key local link roads passable during the current winter lockdown, according the Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District.

Councillor Pat Hayes made his remarks at this week’s meeting of the district committee noting that during the recent lengthy spell of sub-zero temperatures, there were particular issues around Flagmount and between Feakle and Scariff. In a motion calling for a review of the Winter Gritting Plan, the Fianna Fáil member noted that the Feakle-Scariff road and the Gort-Tulla road are among some key routes currently excluded from the plan.

“These roads need to be included as a matter of urgency for the safety of motorists,” he said. “Now that people have to stay within 5km of their homes, it’s particularly important that they can safely access local services. If you take O’Meara’s in Flagmount, people have to be able to get there safety for essential food and supplies. I’m calling on the council to examine extending the gritting programme because we’re very likely to have more spells of freezing weather soon.”

The Caher native also noted a particular problem for motorists using routes where some roads are gritted and others are not. “If you are travelling from Gort to Feakle and on to Killaloe, the stretch from Feakle to Scariff is not on the maintenance plan and motorists don’t realise that they are moving from roads which are treated onto a stretch that is not.”

The idea of using signage to alert motorists was mooted, but Councillor Alan O’Callaghan said the best advice was for drivers to slow down in icy conditions.

In a written reply, John Leahy, Senior Engineer with the Transportation Section said the council’s winter maintenance plan was “operating at capacity, covering almost 700km of the road network from Beechpark [Ennis]”.

“We will be inviting Elected Members to make submissions in the spring in advance of the next winter maintenance review,” the response said. “The roads listed as part of this motion will be considered as part of the next winter maintenance review which is scheduled for June 2021.”

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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