Cork residents plead for road safety measures 'before lives are lost'

Cork residents plead for road safety measures 'before lives are lost'
Residents of Killard near Blarney, Cork, were out in force looking for motorists to slow down as they pass in a campaign for traffic calm measures in the area. Included are , Sergeant Mark Dempsey, Blarney, Cllr. Tony fitzgerald, Cllr. Damien Boylan and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan, and residents, Tim Donovan, Colette Thomas and Geraldine Hassett. Picture Dan Linehan

Residents living along Cork's unofficial north ring road have pleaded for road safety upgrades before lives are lost.

Homeowners in the tight-knit community of Killard near Blarney said they are living in fear at the speed of motorists and the volume of traffic racing past their homes.

"Some of the older people here are afraid to cross the road at certain times of the day," local resident, Geraldine Hassett, said.

"I've had several close calls on the road, most recently with a refuse truck, as I walked along the road with a child in a buggy. The truck passed so fast and so close to us that it rocked the buggy. I was terrified. Some of our older neighbours just won't cross the road anymore. They don't feel safe.

"During the lockdown when the road was quieter, some motorists felt they could just put the boot down. Something has to be done before lives are lost."

Cork residents plead for road safety measures 'before lives are lost'
Donie O’Donovan, Shane and Sean O’Brien, Patrick and Frances Doyle, Kevin and Rhys Thomas. Picture Dan Linehan

They raised their concerns with politicians, including the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, FF Cllr Tony Fitzgerald and FG Cllr Damian Boylan, during a roadside protest early today, which was also attended by local gardaí.

The single-lane 50kph road through Killard is used as a link from the western suburbs and the city's busy Hollyhill Industrial Estate, home to several large employers, including Apple, to the N20 Cork-Mallow road.

Motorists travelling from the Mallow side to the western suburbs to visit institutions like CUH, UCC or CIT, also use it.

Ms Hassett said residents in the area, which was until last May part of the Cobh electoral area of Cork County, have been raising road safety concerns since the mid-1990s but little or nothing was done.

Following the city boundary extension last May, the area is now in the city council's jurisdiction.

Cork residents plead for road safety measures 'before lives are lost'
Young Triona Sheehan at the protest. Picture: Dan Linehan

Mr Sheehan said residents are not asking for a lot: "They are looking for simple traffic calming measures, for new signage, for footpath improvements. We are going to work to get them into the budget."

Mr Fitzgerald, who chairs the city council's north west local area committee (LAC), said the residents have valid concerns: "This will be high on our agenda for inclusion in next year's budget.

Cork residents plead for road safety measures 'before lives are lost'
Tess O’Donovan at the protest. Picture Dan Linehan

"But at the next LAC, we will ask for a report of any measures that could be implemented in the immediate to short-term. Residents' safety is a priority and this merits a partnership approach between the city council and ESB Networks."

In the longer term, Mr Fitzgerald said the problem affecting residents in Killard, as well as residents living in Blarney, Tower and Cloghroe, highlights the need for substantial investment in the development of a North Ring Road.

"This has become the main artery from the north west of the city to the Cork-Mallow road," he said. "It's the main link between the north west of the city and urban areas of the county.

"The build-up of traffic volumes here reinforces the need for a northern ring road and the need for major investment in infrastructure to link the north-west and west of the city to the north."

Cllr Boylan said traffic calming measures are required in the short-term: "But people in Kerrypike, Blarney, Tower and Cloghroe are looking for the same things. The long-term solution to this is the delivery of the North Ring Road."

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