'Non-existent' enforcement undermines speed limit plan for Cork estates

New bylaws will reduce speed limits in a number of large estates to 30km/hr but enforcement of the rules will be "non-existent" according to a Cork councillor. 
'Non-existent' enforcement undermines speed limit plan for Cork estates
Speed limits will be cut to 30km/hr in a large number of Cork housing estates from September. File Picture.

Reduced speed limits in housing estates all over Cork County will have no impact due to "non-existent" enforcement, according to councillors.

New bylaws will be introduced in a large number of estates from September 25, cutting speed limits to 30 km/hr.

However, concerns have been raised about how effective this will be due to the lack of enforcement of existing speed limits.

While not every estate is covered, there are a large number all over the county which have been picked in consultation with the gardaí.

The news was welcomed by Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath, who has long campaigned to have the safety measures implemented, but, he said the bylaws need to be enforced and traffic calming measures are needed in estates.

“The reduction in the speed limit sends out an important message, but we need to do more than simply erect signage. In many cases the speed limit change will need to be accompanied by physical traffic calming measures and enforcement is critical,” he said.

Mr McGrath told a meeting in County Hall that a pilot scheme had been previously run in a handful of estates and asked how many prosecutions there had been for speeding. He didn't get an answer from officials.

“I believe enforcement is virtually non-existent and that must change if this is to be effective,” he added.

His party colleague, councillor Ian Doyle also questioned enforcement.

“Further measures are needed such as more speed ramps and flashing warning lights,” Mr Doyle said.

Carrigtwohill-based Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry claimed speed has actually increased in the estates where the pilot scheme was introduced.

“Enforcement will be a huge issue. When planning new estates, we should ensure they are done in such a way that it is impossible to go over the speed limit,” he said.

This would include speed ramps and chicanes.

Fianna Fáil councillor Patrick Murphy agreed with him pointing out it was “costly” to retrofit traffic calming measures in older estates, while Fine Gael councillor Pat Hayes suggested the council start an education programme in schools to instil road safety into children before they're old enough to drive.

Mayor of County Cork, Independent councillor Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley, agreed with him. 

“We can put up all the signs in the world and there will still be some people who won't look at them,” she said.

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