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Councillor Paul Murphy

TII accused of ‘dragging its heels’ over Clareabbey roundabout

AN overpass should be constructed at the Clareabbey Roundabout to allow pedestrians and cyclists cross safely, Ennis’ deputy mayor has insisted, accusing Transport Infrastructure Ireland of “dragging its heels” on safety concerns.
Councillor Paul Murphy has described the roundabout on the N85 as “a disaster from day one that needs to be addressed immediately”.
Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District the Clarecastle councillor said it “beggars belief that TII are still dragging their heels, still having reviews and studies, and there is nothing concrete going on.”
The councillor, who has regularly highlighted the danger the roundabout poses to cyclists and walkers who wish to cross the road, said that it has “cut off the village of Clarecastle and Ennis from each other”.
The councillor had sought a progress update on a preliminary design report which was required to be submitted to TII before final approval. He also urged that a pedestrian and cyclist overpass be designed with money sought under the next round of Active Travel funding.
The motion was supported by Mayor of Ennis Councillor Ann Norton who recalled bringing the issue to the attention of TII while part of a council delegation. “We were told they would look at it, and here we are still,” she said. “It’s a dangerous roundabout,” she said, adding young people are being prevented from cycling to school because of this.
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy agreed that the roundabout has “disconnected” Ennis and Clarecastle. She praised Councillor Murphy for his determination on the issue while stating he has the backing of the entire council.
Clareabbey roundabout was described as “probably the busiest in the county” by Councillor Pat Daly. “Thousands of people are coming from Shannon Airport and the industrial estate every day through that roundabout, it’s important pedestrians and cyclists are accommodated. It’s vital funding is sorted out, this is a health and safety issue,” he said.
John Gannon, Senior Executive Engineer, responding to the motion stated, “The TII have advised me that they are currently carrying out trials on a similar roundabout in Kerry the outcomes of which will inform the design process in relation to Clareabbey Roundabout, also, Clare County Councils Design has been forwarded to their active travel team for comment and review.”
In relation to the request for a pedestrian and cycle bridge he stated, “The TII are reviewing the current design which incorporates pedestrian/cycle crossing points. The TII are now the Approving Authority for greenway projects having taken over this role from the Department of Transport with effect from September 20, 2021, they are also the approving authority for the National Cycling Strategy. In that context I have submitted a high-level ambition to develop a cycling/walking infrastructure that will ultimately link Lees Road Sports & Amenity Park in Ennis via Claureen Roundabout & Clareabbey Roundabout through Clarecastle and Newmarket on Fergus to Shannon Town. Cycling/walking & transportation infrastructure on the N85 from Claureen to Loughville will also be included.”

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