SAFETY at a notorious junction in East Clare was raised again when members of the Killaloe Municipal District met in Scariff this Wednesday.
Councillor Pat Hayes appealed for greater efforts to address the issue and avoid a fatality at Henchey’s Cross.
He noted that works have been done recently to improve visibility and alert drivers to slow down ahead of the road narrowing and the hidden dip. However, he scored the works “1/10” in terms of their impact on road safety.
“We have campaigned a lot to get this much work done,” he said.
“I welcome the recent work done, but to my mind, it has highlighted the issue even more. There is a far greater need now for further funding.
“These are very localised and small works. In terms of an improvement in safety, they haven’t generated major change. They are, to my mind, confusing signs that create difficulties.”
The Fianna Fáil member made his remarks almost a year to the day that he tabled a major motion on the same junction.
In November 2021, he appealed for major safety works with unanimous support from fellow councillors. This Wednesday, he noted that it had taken years even to achieve the minor works.
“It has taken three years or more to get to this point,” he said. “I would say to the manager and all the team that this is a priority. We have a consensus on this and we must resolve the issue. We cannot leave it the way it is. I appreciate there is as much done as funding allows, but it hasn’t resolved the issue. The recent work has highlighted it even more.
“We must fight to get this on the agenda. None of us can stand back and say is has been resolved.
“There was a tragic fatality recently nearby that had nothing to do with this junction, but the last thing we want to see is a fatality at Henchy’s Cross. There are lots of people on social media who are concerned and complaining.”
In respect of the recent works, Councillor Hayes said, “I would give the work a score of 1/10. The issue has to be resolved. This is a main regional road. We are trying to get people out here to do business in our area.
“We need to divert money towards this work. It would be a huge benefit to all in East Clare. I am making an appeal on this. Some work is done, but not to the satisfaction of me or most people. It’s not a criticism, but it’s not the long term work we all want to see.”
Councillor Joe Cooney welcomed the work done to-date.
“We are all well aware that more is needed,” he said. “Maybe it slows the traffic a bit. In my view, this is the most dangerous junction in the county at the moment. We need proper funding for proper works. There is a lot of movement of traffic. It is a priority and we have to make it a priority. We have to make the junction safer. There is heavy traffic using this area regularly.”
Cathaoirleach Councillor Alan O’Callaghan said it was a pity that this section of one of East Clare’s arterial routes had not been made safer.
“The road got a good upgrade, but this has been left behind,” he said. “It is on our Programme of Works, but funding is now the issue. The minister must pony up so that a proper job can be done.”
Senior Executive Engineer Derek Troy undertook to raise the issue again with the Roads Design Office (RDO).
“This still remains a dangerous junction,” he said. “Sight lines are restricted and it’s narrow. The planned works were fully delivered, but it is still a restricted junction. We need works.”
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 The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at [email protected] or telephone 065 6864146.