‘Catastrophic decision’ on new roadway
Appeal for immediate action
Recently Roscommon county has been awarded the unique privilege of a new National Primary Road, the route to be designed, selected and constructed under the management of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (T.I.I.)/National Roads Office and Roscommon County Council. This new roadway of 33.4 kilometres is to replace the existing N5 from Scramogue to Ballaghaderreen which is deemed dangerous and not suitable for purpose.
This being a new road, it should traverse the most suitable route to service the areas of population and commercial activity and give the safest and shortest connectivity to these areas in County Roscommon, i.e. Roscommon Town, Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen. For the transient users from Scramogue to Ballaghaderreen the selected new route makes little difference as all the proposed routes are approximately the same length.
Initially there were several proposed routes, north and south of Tulsk. A selected route south of Tulsk would take the new roadway near the centre of population and commercial activity and eliminate the dangerous, unsuitable access roads each side of Tulsk on the N61.
Unfortunately the route selected by the powers that be for the new roadway was on north of Tulsk.
I objected to An Bord Pleanala to this selected route on the basis of:
1. Safety: Because the main purpose of the new roadway was that of safety, this selected route committed its users accessing it from the N61 to further danger by still having to use the road from Clashaganny to Tulsk, a four-kilometre stretch of road with a series of curves, no hard shoulder and its laneways barely accommodating to converging heavy vehicles. This section of the N61 is more dangerous than any part of the N5 it is replacing and is not fit for purpose.
Also from Tulsk crossroads to the new proposed N61 roundabout approaching Shankill crossroad, a stretch of road of five kilometres is mainly a boggy, undulating road with bordering water drains and no hard shoulder is totally unfit for heavy traffic and not fit for purpose. These two dangerous sections of the N61 acting as a connection road to the new N5 completely contradict the safety element as the reason for the new N5.
2. Pollution: To access the new roadway from the N61 gives a longer driving distance on unsuitable roads under restrained driving conditions which causes more air and noise pollution.
3. Cost: In time, these two dangerous unsuitable sections of the N61 will have to be upgraded to acceptable standards, so adding to the long-term costs to be paid for by the taxpayer.
Also, extra cost will be borne by the road user in accessing the route selected north of Tulsk. Over time the cost will be enormous.
An Bord Pleanala approved the route as selected by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, giving these bland, questionable reasons – “shorter journeys”, “reduction in traffic hazard” “improved connectivity, reduction in noise and air pollution” and “overall amenity”. None of these reasons apply to connectivity users from the N61 and in my view they are invalid. These connectivity users are subjected to a longer journey of approximately ten kilometres, subject to increased pollution of all types on a section of the N61 that is totally unfit for purpose and more dangerous than any section of the present N5 which is the subject of replacement.
Instead of people accessing this new N5 road from the N61 being accommodated in a positive way by this new road, the opposite is the case. They are disadvantaged by being subjected to a more dangerous, longer journey at more cost and in an unhealthy state – causing more pollution.
The only way that this catastrophic decision by the powers that be can be reviewed and reversed is by High Court action or political interjection at the highest level. Due to time constraints, this must be done immediately. I appeal to all concerned – political, commercial and the ordinary citizen – to take immediate action so that you and future generations of Roscommon people are accommodated in a safe, convenient and proper manner.
How I found what I was looking for…
On market day in the town square, family, relatives and friends would pop in for a chat. Some would bring four or five eggs, each individually wrapped in newspaper. One of them always brought an apple tart from Halfpenny Johnny’s shop.
The delicate would sit close to the range, whilst the busier would stand against the kitchen dresser, and all would talk simultaneously across different topics.
Whenever St. Patrick’s Day was on the horizon, someone would invariably hark back to the year that the shamrock and palm were worn on the same day – Palm Sunday was also St. Patrick’s Day.
Over the years I must have asked hundreds of elderly people if they remembered or heard of that day of joint symbols. None had ever heard it mentioned.
Long before searching on Google became the norm, the charity shops became my only resource. I knew that a priest’s breviary contained a calendar of important moving Holy days.
Following many months of scanning charity shop book-racks, I at last located an old breviary. I had found what I was seeking – Palm Sunday fell on the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day, 1940.
Takes issue with Frank on criticism of Shane Ross
I read Frank Brandon’s column (issue 22nd of February) regarding the issue of unaccompanied learner drivers, and was truly amazed that he was critical of Minister Shane Ross, who is trying to improve driving safety standards for the whole population.
Unlicensed people behind the wheel are not exclusive to the rural areas of Ireland. And whilst the new penalties may be causing great inconvenience, most people in this situation have been driving for many years without bothering to take a test. We should be encouraging all new drivers to take their test as soon as possible, and helping older people to do the same.
None of our five children were allowed unaccompanied behind the wheel until they had passed their test – no matter how much inconvenience that rule caused at the time.
Following Frank’s logic, none of us should have to take a test at all, making fools out of those of us who go to the great expense of doing so. A driving licence is exactly what it says, it is not a right.
As for the comments regarding drink-driving limits, get real Frank, please – this is 2019. A car, or any vehicle, is a lethal machine. Oh, don’t forget your own Editor who allowed an article on tyre safety in the same edition. Perhaps he could be criticised in next week’s edition of the newspaper?
Adhering to rules is part of living in a civilised society. We should be backing the Minister for his brave stand regarding the driving situation.
Soon, taking and passing your driving test will become a normal, acceptable fact of life. The days when rules were flouted for the personal gain of the individual will be laughed about and disappear into folklore…hopefully, along with drivers under the influence of drink or drugs and columnists who think that any of these behaviours merit a mention, let alone encouragement under the pretence of being unique.
Suspected arson attacks
Well done on speaking out on page one of Roscommon People (15 February last) against the thuggery that has taken place in Rooskey recently. We, the people of Roscommon, need to stand up and make it known that these criminals do not represent us.