CONCERNS FOR the safety of motorists using the Gorey to Carnew road were raised by three different elected representatives at the December meeting of Wexford County Council.
The issue was first mentioned by Cllr. Malcolm Byrne who sought assurances that the local authority in Wexford will work with their opposite numbers in Wicklow to keep the road open in the event of ice or snow. The Fianna Fáil man pointed out that the road is used by shoppers making their way to Gorey, as well as workers heading to their shifts at the meat factory in Shillelagh.
However, director of roads Tony Larkin made it clear that the council's emphasis is looking after the national routes that pass through the county rather than the regional roads such as the one mentioned by Cllr. Byrne.
' This road is not a priority,' said Tony Larkin bluntly, adding that it would be looked after if reserves of salt, machinery and manpower allowed. He accepted that, in the past, efforts have been made to maintain access to the Irish Pride bread making plant in Taghmon and to Kilmore Quay with its perishable fish landings.
There was a sense of déjà vu in the chamber at Carricklawn when Cllr. Michael Kinsella, who arrived for the meeting after Cllr. Byrne had made his point.
The slightly latecomer claimed that there had been five accidents in one morning a few days earlier and he enquired about the gritting programme in place between Craanford and Carnew. Cathaoirleach Kathleen Codd Nolan interrupted to tell him that the issue had already been raised earlier but this did not stop the Fianna Fáil man continuing. He stated that one man living beside the road in question has recorded 140 accidents outside his home.
Director of road services Tony Larkin said that the official statistics did not back up the scary picture painted by Cllr. Kinsella. He felt that the road in question was no more dangerous than any other in the country. Moreover, he stressed that money is not available to carry out structural work on what he described as a relatively minor road.
This exchange was missed by Michael Kinsella's FG colleague John Hegarty who arrived behind schedule for the meeting. As a result, Cllr. Hegarty was puzzled when his attempt to raise the hardship being experienced by road users travelling between Craanford and Carnew was greeted by laughter from all sides of the room.