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New location for Ballyvaughan sign

CLARE County Council has agreed a motion that will see the relocation of an iconic Ballyvaughan signpost to a safer location in the North Clare village, while providing new directional signage offering motorists a choice of taking the Coast Road or the Lisdoonvarna Road to the Cliffs of Moher.
At a special meeting of the local authority on Monday at Knappogue Castle, Quin, members of the council discussed a motion calling for the replacement of the existing sign at Ballyvaughan in the original location.
The motion, tabled by councillors Johnny Flynn, Joe Arkins, Brian Meaney, Michael Begley, Gerry Flynn, Michael Kelly, Bill Slattery, Michael Hillery and Richard Nagle, also called for the sign to be named a protected structure in the county development plan.
Councillors stressed businesses along the coast road are suffering in the height of the tourist season because the sign had been removed.
“Businesses on the Coast Road feel victimised and are losing out. There should be the same amount of signage via the Coast Road as there is for Lisdoonvarna and if we did this, I think it would address this issue,” Councillor Richard Nagle stated.
He said the removal of the iconic sign is still an issue but the people of Ballyvaughan are prepared to engage with the council on it. However, he felt there should have been more consultation prior to its removal.
Councillor Michael Hillary noted the signs were removed “for safety reasons”, but he said, “I don’t recall any accidents at this location”.
Other councillors stressed the need for the local area councillors to have been informed prior to any action being taken by the NRA.
“Would it not be better if the local councillors in North Clare were informed in advance of this, rather than hearing about it on Joe Duffy,” Councillor Tom McNamara said.
Following a lengthy discussion and a formal reply from acting director of service for planning, land use and transportation, Nora Kaye, it was decided that directional signage for the Cliffs of Moher via the Coast Road and the Lisdoonvarna Road be erected.
County manager, Tom Coughlan, explained to the members there are two issues that need to be addressed, the first being signage for businesses along the Coast Road and the Lisdoonvarna Road and the second being the iconic sign.
He said the directional signage for the Cliffs of Moher via the Coast Road and the Cliffs of Moher via the Lisdoonvarna Road would deal with signage for businesses.
However, he stated difficulties arise with the iconic sign at its original location as there is “an issue of road safety”. He said the council has been in discussion with the Ballyvaughan Development Company and the iconic sign “will be re-erected, though somewhere safe”.
He said this would mean there would still be directional signage, while the iconic sign could be located in an area where people could stop and have their photo taken with it.
The members decided the issue of the iconic sign would go back to the Ennistymon Electoral Area councillors for their consideration regarding its relocation and whether it is to be adopted as a protected structure.
In a formal report to the council, Ms Kaye explained the background to the removal of the signage at Ballyvaughan and what transpired since.
She outlined that as part of an initiative to improve signage around the county, the National Roads Authority (NRA), following consultation with Clare County Council, completed an improved signage programme along the N67 from Miltown Malbay to Ballyvauaghan.
“During this process, new signage was erected and unauthorised signs were removed. One of the signposts from which unauthorised signs were removed was the sign located at the junction, which had approximately 20 signs attached.
“Concern was expressed by a small number of individuals, who requested that the original signs be reinstated. In consultation with the NRA, it was agreed that for road and general safety reasons, the original sign would not be reinstated.
“When the above issues were brought to the attention of Clare County Council, the council immediately agreed to erect additional (general) tourism-orientated signage indicating the Coast Road and one signing Fanore. In addition, a general symbols sign – indicating accommodation, meals and parking was requested,” she said.
Ms Kaye added all three of these signs are now in place and the council agreed to consider relocating the original sign in view of its historical and cultural importance elsewhere in Ballyvaughan.

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