After almost 15 years of seeing cars crash into his front garden and home, an 82-year-old retired farmer has finally had a crash barrier erected in front of his house.
Located on one of the most dangerous stretches of the old N18 Ennis to Galway road in Co Clare, there have been more than 25 crashes outside Martin McGuane’s home at Bunnahow, Tubber, in the past decade alone.
On six occasions, vehicles demolished his front wall, landed in his garden, or actually smashed into his home.
In Jul 2010, Mr McGuane had a miraculous escape when two cars collided head-on outside his home before one careered through his front wall, coming to rest against the front door.
If Mr McGuane had been standing at the door or in his front garden, he would almost certainly have been killed. As a result, Mr McGuane refused to use his front door or gate again for fear a car would come smashing through his wall.
Following the last incident, the driver’s insurance company paid for the cost of rebuilding the front wall. It took more than two years for the local authority to build a crash barrier at the scene.
Mr McGuane had previously been told by the council that it could not erect a crash barrier at the location because of “liability issues”.
In 2010, the National Roads Authority said the risk of a repeat of this type of incident would diminish significantly once the M18 Gort to Crusheen motorway opened. Mr McGuane’s rejected this, saying while some traffic would be taken off the road, the cars which continued to use the route, would drive faster.
Mr McGuane’s son Aidan has now said: “The road is a bit quieter but there is still a lot of traffic travelling along here. This is probably due in part to the motorway but it doesn’t mean there won’t be more crashes.
“The crash barrier is long overdue but now at least, if a car crashes into that, it hopefully won’t be crashing into the house like before.
“We had to remove the steps and gate entrance at the front of the house and build a side entrance before they would erect the barrier. We had to do this and pay for it ourselves.”
Clare County Council confirmed the barrier cost €6,500, and was funded by the Department of Transport.
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