Council appeal to keep tragedy off the roads

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A FAMILY tragedy has prompted a Limerick City councillor to appeal to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to take road safety seriously over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon (FF) told last week’s Metropolitan District meeting of Limerick City and County Council of the tragedy during a presentation of a review of speed limits.

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“The eldest in my family was 17 when she was knocked down and killed on Christmas Eve.

“Many families have suffered such tragedies. People are speeding and the reason they are getting away with it is that we don’t have sufficient enforcement,” he said.

More than a dozen proposals had been received by the council in relation to various speed limit zones as part of the draft speed-limit by-laws.

Most of the proposals were in relation to reducing speed limits but only a few were approved.

Explaining the reason for the rejection of requests, Senior Executive Engineer Trevor Mc Kechnie said the council has “a set of guidelines that we have to adhere to. Those guidelines say that a 60 kilometre an hour limit is not appropriate in rural areas”.

Cllr Joe Leddin (Lab) said he had a query concerning the Rosbrien Road to the rear of Peony Court restaurant where he claimed “Bus Éireann are continually flouting the law by using that road. They are not supposed to use it and furthermore, they are speeding.

“Bus Éireann has told me that they have instructed the drivers not to use it. This is a narrow road and the speed of cars, as well as buses,  is a danger. We need to introduce some measures to deal with this”. he said.

City east councillor, Marian Hurley (FG) said: “People are taking their lives in their hands on the Mountshannon Road – it can’t be left at 60kph. If we want our young people to walk or cycle to school, we have to be serious about reducing speed limits”.

Cllr John Gilligan (Ind) said: “When we put down a speed limit it means you can drive at that speed in perfect conditions. It doesn’t mean you have to drive at that speed. But people constantly disobey speed limits and we say lets drop the speed limit. How is that going to work?

“The Gardaí don’t have the resources. The council should be allowed enforce speed limits in their own area. We should have detection vans and the council should be able to fine people breaking the law to pay for this. Many people will be killed on the roads over the next month because of speeding”.

Director of Service Operations, Kieran Lehane told the members that while the presentation was “just for consideration”, he would endorse the views of the members.

“However, the only way we can do anything is to alter people’s behaviour and the only truly effective way to change that is that if you speed, you get fined,” he said.