THIEVES attempting to take road signs may find them microchipped or else welded to poles.
These were just two ideas put forward by councillors at Monday's meeting of Cork COunty Council to combat a spate of thefts of road signs throughout the county.
Cllr Gerry Kelly (FG) raised the motion and said there are financial, law and order as well as health and safety issues when signs as well as chevrons at dangerous bends are stolen.
He asked that Cork County Council write to scrap metal collectors and request that they not take in or buy any road signage.
However, he had an unusual idea regarding the reporting of road signage theft. He said: "Boy racers are, by their nature, nocturnal and signs are taken at night time. Boy racers are usually facebook users and information could be posted on where and when signs have been stolen from."
He said numerous councillors have lobbied to have chevrons to be put in place and now they were being "stolen for just a few bob."
Cllr Noel Collins (Ind) said: "The only way you can follow Irish road signs, is if you know where you are going in the first place. It's driving tourists around the bend."
Cllr Noel O'Connor (FG) had a suggestion for CCC. He said that a microchip could be put on the signs which would result in CCC staff knowing exactly where signs were and if they were moved. "It wouldn't cost a fortune to do this," he said.
Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) said that legislation must be activated so that scrap dealers cannot pay out cash for transactions. "The problem is that anyone without any identification can sell on scrap. That is not helping the problem," he said.
Cllr Dan Fleming (FF) said that signs should be welded to poles. "You wouldn't get that sign into a van fairly handy," he said.
He said that a person could go to Australia and see a sign 'Blarney 5km'. "And you'd just have to ask how did that get there," he said.
Cllr Noel Costello (Lab) said there are 17 chevrons missing within a 2km of his house in Glanmire. He asked that fibreglass or plastic backed signs which have no value be put in place.
It was his view that signs are being stolen during the day. "All a person has to do is put on a yellow jacket, a hard hat and have a van and you can do what you like, as no one will stop and ask you, 'what are you doing?," said Cllr Costello.
He also said that scrap metal will always have a value in Ireland.
Cllr Frank Murphy (FG) said cast iron is being stolen which is very expensive. According to him, a person in Kinsale took 50 signs by "putting a sling over his back and bringing them down." He also claimed that a 6 x 3 historical sign had been found in a person's garage.
Manager Martin Riordan said the theft of road signage has become "a very strong trend."
He said the taking of safety signs is particularly serious. "For the sake of a small amount of money, a person could lose their life or be seriously injured. I'm asking that people leave these signs alone, they were put there for a purpose," he said.
He said legislation was needed to make scrap metal a regulated business. However, he said to put in microchips on signs was a possibility but Cork County Council would need legislation to regulate that process.