While parked outside the school at 3 o’clock, just before the summer holidays, I witnessed what could have been a very serious accident.
I got such a fright, that immediately on returning home, I wrote to the Gardaí, the County Council, Senator Jarlath McDonagh and Cllr. Noel Grealish, highlighting the dangers facing the children as they leave school each day.
Senator McDonagh contacted me very promptly and suggested that both he and Cllr. Grealish meet with me to discuss the matter. The Council replied that they were looking into the matter and later wrote stating that, in their opinion, there were adequate safety measure in place, ie. Signs and Flashing lights. The Gardaí did not reply.
During the holidays, I met with Senator McDonagh at the school, where I pointed out the problems and possible solutions. He invited me to bring a deputation to meet with Council members during September, where both he and Cllr. Grealish would give us their full backing.
I then approached the Parent’s Association and asked if some of their members would be willing to accompany me to the meeting. They agreed, as they are also very concerned about safety at the school.
On Monday, September 24th, Malachy Noone, John Carton and I, met with Councillors, Engineers and various other Council staff to discuss our fears. We set out our fears, told of near accidents we had witnessed and offered possible solutions. We also invited all present to come to the school at closing time to see for themselves the situation, as we felt that it needs to be seen to be understood.
In the short-term, it was decided to place a continuous white line in the middle of the road, along with No Overtaking signs and it was requested that parents report to the Gardaí anyone seen speeding or overtaking in the vicinity of the school. Also it was agreed to look into, and rectify, any area which becomes flooded in the wet weather and which forces the children to go outside the cars to gain entry to them. The Gardaí are also expected to make spot checks outside the school.
In the long-term, it was agreed to carry out a study into the possibility of providing Traffic Calming measures on this dangerous stretch of road.
Parents themselves can of course make things safer by parking more responsibly. Please leave adequate room for the school bus to pull in and collect the children safely. More room would be available for parking if the teachers were allowed to park at right angles to the school wall. However in the mornings, many parents block off this area by parking parallel to the road out at the broken yellow line and abandoning their cars, forcing the teachers to park parallel to the wall themselves, leaving less room for parents at 3 o’clock.
Also, some parents double-park, which is extremely dangerous, as the children have to walk out into the road to get into the cars.
If everyone thought before parking, it would make the area a little safer for all and hopefully prevent what I believe is an accident waiting to happen.
The Councillors are due to get back to our delegation with further news, and I will keep you informed of it. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator McDonagh and Councillor Noel Grealish for all their help in this matter.
In the meantime, please drive and park carefully for the sake of all our children.