Bus, lorry go off the road
Mounting concern after accidents
There is mounting pressure on Sligo County Council to do something to make the Ballygawley to Ballyfarnon road safer after two near misses.
An artic lorry and a mini-bus full of teenagers crashed off the road into ditches in two separate incidents last Monday April 3rd.
This newspaper highlighted the issue of the roads near Geevagh on February 28th and again on March 21st when a car left the road and skidded into a ditch.
County Councillor Chris MacManus asked the Council at the April County Council meeting yesterday (Monday) to prepare a report on the provision of roadside barriers or other viable alternatives to prevent vehicles coming off the road at the scene at Carrownadargney, Geevagh.
Responding to the motion, Director of Services Mr Tom Kilfeather told members that the Ballymote area engineer would investigate the location and consider roadside barriers.
Cllr Thomas Healy also proposed a motion calling on the Transport Minister to make funding available for the R284 Geevagh Road. The bus was carrying a team of Under-16 footballers from St. Molaise Gaels in Grange who had been playing in Geevagh.
It left the road and dropped several feet into a ditch around 9pm that night.
Cllr MacManus said it was "a miracle that there was no loss of life" in both incidents.
"Having visited the scene of several accidents on this road over the last while, I'm amazed that fortunately, we have not witnessed a fatality. The bus carrying the young footballers nearly toppled over on its side and if so, would have been impaled by a number of fence posts. Luckily, all on the bus walked away uninjured," he said.
"This is not the first time that either myself or other councillors have highlighted the hazardous stretches of the R284 between Sooey and Geevagh. Narrow parts of the road, with little or no verges and sheer drops each side are unfortunately the norm.
"Continuous upgrading over the years has raised the road but not addressed the safety for motorists, especially for those not familiar with the road.
"Since becoming a Councillor in March, I gave a commitment to local residents that I would raise this issue to a Council meeting at the earliest opportunity. This I have done and I lead the discussion on this matter at the Council meeting on Monday.
"The Council and the local community need to hear from senior officials what solutions there are to provide either roadside barriers or some other similar alternative. We cannot wait until a tragedy occurs before taking much needed action," he said.