Family nearly wiped out at Clareabbey roundabout

Clareabbey Roundabout. Pic: Gary Collins

An entire family was closed to being “wiped out” at one of the busiest roundabouts in the county recently due to the speed of oncoming motorists.

There was a lucky escape for one family at the Clareabbey roundabout situated between Ennis and Clarecastle recently according to Cllr Paul Murphy. He was speaking at the February meeting of Ennis Municipal District where he sought the introduction of traffic calming measures at the location.

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Murphy wants to see funds development contributions from “the recent grant of planning permission by Clare County Council to Maxol” for a redevelopment of the outlet go towards the roundabout just outside the service station. “I am now requesting that the development contributions generated from this development be ring-fenced and used to introduce more traffic calming measures at Clareabbey roundabout”. He also enquired for feedback from the TII since its discussion at the November meeting of the EMD.

Senior Planner, Brian McCarthy informed the Clarecastle councillor that the decision to grant planning permission at the Maxol Service Station “is still within the period within which an appeal can be lodged to An Bord Pléanála”. He felt it was “inappropriate to discuss the detail of the development or the contribution”.

McCarthy referred to Section 48 of the Planning Act which indicates “that the monies collected are to provide for ‘public infrastructure and facilities benefitting development in the area of the Planning Authority’”.

“Albeit I note and appreciate the sentiment of the Notice of Motion, essentially the Act indicates that there is no facility to restrict or ring-fence the collection and distribution of the monies arising from a specific development to be spent on a specific roads or amenity project”.

Tom Tiernan Director of Service stated that “there has not been any feedback to date from TII in relation to Clareabbey Roundabout. The TII has been reminded of the urgency of a response in relation to this”.

Pic: Gary Collins

“I’m banging this drum again and I will continue banging it until something is done”, Cllr Murphy replied. The Fine Gael Cllr then told of the near-miss incident in which a buggy had to be shoved out of the way to prevent a major accident as a car was travelling too fast to notice a family crossing the road. He said there has also been several near-misses with cyclists at the location. He criticised the TII who he said “have let this go on for ten years” and added that he was not surprised to hear there had been no feedback from them.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Ann Norton admitted that she brought the matter to the attention of the TII at a November meeting in Dublin. The Independent Cllr maintained that pressure must be kept on the TII to provide a solution. “It is up to us to keep putting it on the agenda and make sure it is not forgotten about. We are waiting for a response and they constantly need to be reminded about it”.

Fine Gael’s Mary Howard revealed that parents stopped their children from cycling to school because they feared for an accident at the Clareabbey roundabout while en route to St Flannan’s. “Since the day it was built there has been controversy about it”.

According to Fianna Fáil’s Pat Daly, “That roundabout is the busiest roundabout in Clare”. He insisted that drivers travelling from all four corners of the county were using it daily. He called it a “nightmare” and believes drivers “are putting their lives at risk” every instance they use the roundabout.

Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy encouraged Cllr Murphy to keep bringing the item to the agenda as he has done for several years. In praising him for doing so, the Fianna Fáil Cllr said all elected members were behind him.

Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer of the EMD reassured councillors that they were asking as many questions to the TII. He said that the roundabout and immediate exits are under the jurisdiction of motorway maintenance and he urged members of the EMD to write to them asking for speed surveys to be carried out. O’Dea feels the issue is with general traffic movement and is confident a new development at Maxol will see improvements on the Clarecastle side. He told the meeting that he has brought the TII safety engineer to the roundabout on more than one occasion.

Concluding the discussion, Cllr Paul Murphy declared “I’ll keep this item on the agenda as long as it takes”. He joked that he “might even retire from politics if it comes to pass” before adding that he has serious concerns about the roundabout.

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