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Monday 20 May 2019

Former TD's plans for new home stopped in tracks over safety fears along 'ugly mile'

Standing down: Councillor and former TD James Breen is retiring from politics at the next local elections
Standing down: Councillor and former TD James Breen is retiring from politics at the next local elections

Gordon Deegan

Plans by former TD James Breen to build a one-off home on his land have been stopped in their tracks by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

In the objection lodged against the plan, TII told Clare County Council the proposed development would be a "distraction to drivers" along the main road linking Ennis to the seaside resort of Lahinch.

TII - formerly the National Roads Authority (NRA) - also states the housing proposal "represents an unacceptable road safety risk".

The stretch of road the site fronts on to has been dubbed the "ugly mile" by Cllr Breen due to the high level of traffic accidents that occur. In August 2013, there were seven in the space of 11 days.

Cllr Breen, who is retiring from politics next month after deciding not to contest the upcoming local elections, secured planning permission from the council in spite of the TII objections for the "modest" two-bedroom home for himself and his wife Eileen.

The two have lived at the address at Ballyknock, Kilnamona, for 40 years and Cllr Breen is currently sharing the family home with his son and his family.

Last month, Clare County Council gave the proposal the go-ahead after the Breens stressed the new home would use the existing family access on to the N85 and not result in increased use.

However, TII has halted the couple's plan for now after lodging an appeal against the decision with An Bord Pleanála.

In its comprehensive objection, TII states the access from the Breen lands is located on a "high-collision location" on a national secondary route.

It said allowing access for an additional house "is capable of setting an undesirable precedent for further similar development".

A decision is due on the appeal in August. Efforts to contact Cllr Breen for comment were unsuccessful yesterday.

Irish Independent

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