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Thursday 14 December 2017

Pensioner gets garden crash barrier after 25 accidents in decade

Pat Flynn

After almost 15 years of seeing cars crash into his front garden and home, an 82-year-old retired farmer has finally had a crash barrier erected in front of his house.

Located on one of the most dangerous stretches of the old N18 Ennis to Galway road in Co Clare, there have been more than 25 crashes outside Martin McGuane's home at Bunnahow, Tubber, in the past decade alone.

On six occasions, vehicles demolished his front wall, landing in his garden or actually smashing into his home.

In July 2010, Mr McGuane had a miraculous escape when two cars collided head-on outside his home before one careered through his front wall coming to rest against the pensioner's front door.

If Mr McGuane had been standing at the door or in his front garden, he would certainly have been killed. As a result, Mr McGuane refused to use his front door or gate for fear a car would come smashing through his wall again.

Following the last accident, the driver's insurance company paid for the cost of rebuilding the front wall. However, it took more than two years for the local authority to finally build a crash barrier at the scene.

Mr McGuane had been told by the council previously that they could not erect a crash barrier at the location because of 'liability issues'.

In 2010, the NRA said the risk of a repeat of this type of incident would diminish once the M18 Gort to Crusheen motorway opened. The McGuanes rejected this, saying that, while some traffic would be taken off the road, the remaining cars would drive faster.

Mr McGuane's son Aidan said: "The road is a bit quieter but there is still a lot of traffic travelling along here. This is probably due in part to the motorway but it doesn't mean there won't be more crashes.

"We had to remove the steps and gate entrance at the front of the house and build a side entrance before they would erect the barrier. We had to do this and pay for it ourselves but it's a small price to pay for my father's safety and peace of mind."

Clare County Council said: "The cost of the barrier at Bunnahow was €6,500 and it was funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport."

Irish Independent

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