Fire brigade hampered by town gridlock

Traffic congestion and illegal parking is hampering emergency services in one of the country’s top tourism towns and could end up costing lives.

With near gridlock in picturesque harbour town Kinsale, a fire tender took six minutes to reach an apartment in the town.

Normally, local fire brigade personnel reportedly would have been at the scene within one one minute.

Fianna Fáil councillor Gillian Coughlan, who highlighted an issue of illegal parking, said the traffic hold-up was completely unacceptable. She called on the county council to take a number of measures to rectify the situation.

In addition to the population of the busy harbour town swelling during the summer months, day tripper numbers increase significantly, leaving public parking spaces in short supply.

The councillor claimed: “It would seem some people are risking being fined and parking on clearways, double yellow lines, and particularly at bus stops and loading bays. This creates havoc as delivery vehicles, public buses, and tourist coaches have to double park to offload their cargo or passengers.”

In a statement, Cork County Fire Service confirmed a crew “encountered traffic congestion” whilst responding to a call out recently in Kinsale.

“Instances such as this represent an increasing difficulty, particularly in urban areas where high volumes of traffic may, at times, impede the Fire Brigades response to an incident,” a spokesperson said. “Cork County Council would ask the public to be aware of this and to consider the requirements of the emergency services.”

Ms Coughlan, meanwhile, specifically wants the local authority to paint double yellow lines on both sides of the roadway at the Glen to ease traffic movement.

She will also ask Kinsale Chamber of Tourism to consider a curfew on HGV deliveries during the summer.

“It is wonderful to see so many visitors and locals alike enjoying our beautiful towns,” said Ms Coughlan. “But the incident with the fire brigade, however, highlights the potential for catastrophe.”

She said that while she knows that the parking by- laws are being well-enforced in Kinsale, perhaps people need a further deterrent when their illegal parking puts lives at risk.

“Not only does the fire tender have to get to the fire, it must be remembered that the fire personnel must travel to the station also and this can add further to the delay,” Ms Coughlan said. “This adds stress to what is already a high-pressure situation.”

She said gridlock could have resulted in a fatality if the resident had been in the apartment at the time.

“Perhaps a park and ride- type system and the pedestrianisation of some of the streets would create a more ambient and safe environment for everyone to enjoy,” she added.


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