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Spancilhill community ‘cut in half’ due to speeding motorists

SPEEDING motorists have “cut the community in half” in Spancilhill preventing locals from crossing the road to meet with friends and neighbours, a meeting of Ennis councillors heard this week.
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy highlighted the fears of residents in Spancilhill at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District saying, “They are very worried and concerned”. She outlined that local people have discussed the issue with John Gannon, Senior Executive Engineer adding, “I know the district is doing its best to address this, the people had fear in their eyes when they spoke with John, they believe there is going to be an accident. The traffic is coming into the area from a higher standard of road into an 80km an hour area but they are going substantially faster.” She acknowledged that the council have been working with An Garda Siochana.
The councillor requested that the Spancilhill area be defined as ‘Settlement’ in the new County Development Plan, as it is understood this would allow for the council to reduce the speed limit on the road without deference to Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
In response to the request to define Spancilhill as Settlement Helen Quinn, A/Senior Planner stated, “Spancilhill is identified as a Cluster within the County Settlement Hierarchy in the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023. Clusters are described as the smallest type of settlement in the County Settlement Hierarchy and each cluster has a defined boundary. The draft new Clare County Development Plan is currently in preparation and the continued inclusion of Spancilhill as a defined Cluster within the over settlement hierarchy for the County will be considered as part of the plan-making process.”
Councillor Molloy urged the council, “in the interests of public health and safety” to assist in reducing the permitted speed from 80kmph “to a lower and safer speed along the stretch of road passing through their neighbourhood”. She requested that guidance and assistance be provided as to how this can be accomplished in the immediate term.
Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Officer, responded, “A National Speed Limit Review is initiated every five years by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). The last Speed Limit Review in Clare was completed in 2018.
“As part of the next Speed review, submissions will be requested from the Public, Community Groups, Municipal Districts and Public Representatives. There is no formal interim review process available at present. The Low Cost Safety Works at Spancil Hill will be installed this month and further speed surveys will be undertaken following the installation of additional speed limit signs.”
He added that the classifying of Spancilhill as ‘Settlement’ and how this would affect speed limits would need to be discussed with the Planning Section. Councillor Johnny Flynn, supporting Councillor Colleran Molloy’s motions, described the road in Spancilhill as “dangerous” saying motorists are doing “high way speeds”. “This has cut the community in half, people are not crossing over to visit neighbours because of the speeding.”
Mr O’Dea commented that there is an onus on drivers to obey the rules of the road and drive “with caution”. He believes that not driving with due care should be viewed in the same vein as driving with alcohol. He said that the speed limit is not a target, with motorists having to drive in a manner according to the conditions and what is in front of them. “The responsibility is on the driver, God forbid if you had an accident and a child was knocked down, how would a driver live with that?” Councillor Mary Howard agreed personal responsibility needs to be taken, saying the road is “an accident waiting to happen”. “Cars do break the speed limit and it is such a shame. Often times it takes a fatal accident before something can bee done. I look forward to seeing what can be done here.”

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