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Cathal Crowe, TD Photograph by John Kelly

Lighting restored at ‘Bridge railway station


PUBLIC lighting has been restored to the car park area close to Sixmilebridge railway station, after it had been cut off for the last few months.
The power supply for the public lighting had been cut off, following the discovery of an illegal connection.
While the decision to cut the power might have solved that problem, it caused another, as local scout groups use the Old Station House and there were safety issues with people coming and going in the dark.
This week Clare TD Cathal Crowe said he was very pleased that the lighting has finally been restored.
“I’m glad that Clare County Council and the ESB have now reinstated street lighting in the car park area of Sixmilebridge Railway Station,” said the Fianna Fáil representative.
“Approximately 14 streetlights there had been switched off since early September on a precautionary basis after the ESB discovered that one of the secure panels on a lamp post had been tampered with and that somebody had attempted to run an illegal domestic electricity connection from it.
“Whilst I appreciate the high safety risks involved in this, the people most impacted by this were the many individuals who use the rail service out of Sixmilebridge station and also the local children who attend beaver, cub and scout meetings in the Old Station House building, which is on a long-term lease to the local scout group.”
The Clare TD said that he had visited the site lately to meet some of the concerned parties and appreciated the difficulties that were there. “I recently met with some of the concerned parties and saw first-hand how dark the car park area was.
“I found the fact that the platform area of the station and the main road were continuously lit, whilst the section of roadway and car park around 200 metres in length was in pitch darkness was very distorting to one’s vision.
“It had become extremely difficult for parents who were dropping off their kids for scout meetings and for the many people taking the train.
“I contacted Clare County Council and I’m glad that the lamp post has again been made secure and that the electricity is now turned back on with lights shining brightly once again.”
Thomas Cleary is a volunteer with the local scout group and he said they are glad that the situation has now been resolved. “We’re delighted with it, and not only have they turned it back on but they installed LED lights and the place is very well lit up now.”
While the area is safe in terms of lighting now, he said that it was unfortunate that it had taken so long.
“Undoubtedly it has improved the safety of the area. Not just for the 200 of us that would be using the den every week, it’s also for the general public who are using the train station. It shouldn’t have come to this, it could have been sorted long before now. But in the end it has been sorted anyway.”
However he said there is still some work that needs to be done, with people using an outdoor area there as a toilet. “If the Council would come back up and clean up the excrement around the bins that would be the place sorted. There’s a clothes bank up there and there’s about a two foot space between that and the wall, which people are using as a toilet.”
Since early this year there has been an illegal encampment at the station in Sixmilebridge, which has been widely criticised and Deputy Crowe called for action to be taken to resolve the issue.
“Separately, I’m appealing to Clare County Council and An Garda Síochána to progress the long-standing issue of the illegal encampment in the railway station car park.
“This has gone on for far too long and I think it’s entirely an inappropriate place, in a public car park, to have an encampment.
“I hope that all parties involved can use the instruments of law to bring about a resolution here in the quickest possible time.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.