A couple whose house on a narrow street in Youghal was extensively damaged two years ago by a crashed car have narrowly escaped a repeat incident. The accident on Ashe St was just the latest in a long series of near misses that have left locals repeatedly calling on the local authority to act.
Mary and Jerry Keohane were preparing for bed at about 12.30am when an Opel Astra scraped their premises before swerving into a boundary wall opposite the house. The impact activated both airbags in the vehicle, whose sole occupant was a man believed to be in his early 30s.
“It was a frightening bang,” said Ms Keohane.
When I went out, the driver seemed in shock, so we brought him in and sat him down.
The driver was later arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and brought to Midleton Garda Station. Youghal fire brigade helped move the car onto a trailer. Ms Keohane says the crash happened “minutes before four young people passed the spot”.
Ashe St runs parallel to Youghal’s main street and is often used as a short cut to other access routes. At certain points, the street is barely the width of a vehicle and is bordered by houses, including a crèche, on one side and a boundary wall shielding a green area on the other.
Last April, an articulated truck got wedged there for several hours. Locals have long sought measures to deter speeding motorists. In July 2017, a car became embedded in the Keohanes’ house overnight and remained there for several months while the building was made safe.
The incident left the elderly couple stressed, and compromised a health condition for which Mr Keohane is on medication.
In recent times, moving cars have mounted doorsteps, a 90-year-old woman had her shopping bag struck as she entered her home, and the crèche wall has been struck several times.
A deputation from the area is due to address the East Cork Municipal District’s September meeting.
However, the fact that the street forms part of the Ironman cycling route, which will take place in the town again next June, may be one of the factors to explain why speed ramps to date have not been installed.