Scrap metal thieves stole chevron signs erected to prevent further fatalities at a spot where a young father- of-two was killed in a traffic accident.
The same gang is also believed to have stolen traffic safety alerts at other junctions in the same area, such as stop and yield right of way signs.
Following the death of Myles O’Callaghan, Cork County Council carried out a safety audit on the road between Watergrasshill and Glanmire, Co Cork, and decided to put in place a number of accident prevention measures.
Mr O’Callaghan, 28, from Donoughmore, Co Cork, died after his car was in collision with a tractor. His wife Olivia was seriously injured in the crash.
Thieves, meanwhile, last weekend stole six small and 11 larger 5ft x 2ft chevron directional signs, each made of aluminium, erected at the scene.
Cllr Noel Costello (Lab), who is based in Glanmire, said he was very angry that thieves would put people’s lives at risk by such actions.
“The county council carried out a lot of work at the site of the fatal accident to prevent a reoccurrence. But now these reckless thieves have rendered this spot dangerous again.
“I’m told by council officials they will replace the chevron signs as soon as possible. It will cost €2,000 to replace them,” he said.
He said he had also been informed that metal stop and yield right of way signs had been stolen at Glenmore Cross and at Ballindenisk on the old road between Glanmire and Watergrasshill.
A number of other chevron signs were stolen at Brooklodge East, at a dangerous bend on the road between Glanmire and Knockraha.
“The site of the fatal accident is on a fairly busy road, so somebody may have spotted something and if they did they should report it to the gardaí,” said Mr Costello.
The gang who stole the signs are believed to be very organised. They had to unbolt the chevron signs from mountings, and would have required ladders and wrenches to remove the stop signs.
It is believed they struck the area last weekend.
Mr Costello said it had probably come to the stage where local people would have to keep a watchful eye on road signs and report their disappearance to the authorities as soon as possible.
He said locals would know dangerous spots, but the removal of signs could have serious implications for motorists who didn’t know the area.
Superintendent Pat Lehane, who is in charge of policing in Glanmire, confirmed gardaí were investigating the incidents and appealed to anybody with information to contact them.
“This is absolutely reckless behaviour and particularly so at one location where there had sadly been a fatal accident,” Supt Lehane said.
Britain, meanwhile, recently enacted a new law which prevented scrap merchants paying cash for metal. Similar proposals have been drafted by the Department of Environment and are due to be discussed in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
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