Runners, walkers and cyclists along the N85 from Claureen to Clareabbey will continue to be left in the dark.
Fine Gael Cllr Mary Howard at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District requested that the lights be turned on in the mornings along this popular route for active citizens in the town.
Her appeal was dismissed by the Council who feel the estimated fee of €4000 to carry this out “is a considerable cost”. Executive Engineer in the Transport Section of the local authority, Patrick Lynch replied “The public lighting between Clareabbey Roundabout to Claureen Roundabout running from dusk to dawn would require removing all the existing photocells and replacing them with new photocells to control the duration that the public lights would run”.
Lynch added “The longer running hours for these public lights would also have a impact on the cost of the energy and with the current lights in place this would increase the energy cost by €9,700 per annum. This is a considerable cost as Clare County Council are having to make every effort to reduce our energy consumption to comply with the 33% reduction by 2020, this would have a negative effect on our efforts to achieve this. The public lighting on the roundabouts runs from dawn to dusk” he concluded.
Mary expressed her disappointment with the response. She stated that a number of running and walking groups confided in her that they felt unsafe along the route. Howard said that the lights go off at midnight and “don’t come back on again”. She suggested that new LED’s be used to reduce costs.
Her party colleague Paul Murphy admitted that when driving the stretch of road at night “it is noticeable very dark”. He referenced the fact that it is a popular trek for running, walking and cycling. Murphy felt that the Council should look at possibly putting one in every three lights on to ensure the cost isn’t as significant but he believed it would “take away the feeling of alienation”.