EMERGENCY crews had to drive past the scene of a road crash and add 14km to their journey to reach it.
The reason for the long trip was because there is no provision for emergency vehicles to access the M18 motorway in Co Clare.
A crash occurred yesterday about 500 metres north of the Barefield interchange (Junction 14).
But emergency vehicles responding to the incident had to drive north past the scene, to the next interchange at Crusheen, to gain access to the southbound carriageways.
This meant that crews had to travel 21km to a scene just 7km away.
The motorist escaped injury after she lost control of her vehicle and collided with the median crash barrier. It was the third single-vehicle crash on the same stretch of motorway, and the fourth on the entire M18, in just three days.
Clare councillor Johnny Flynn, a former chief fire officer for Co Limerick, said the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Clare County Council should investigate the provision of access points for emergency vehicles on the M18.
"There are a number of factors here, the most critical of which is the 'Golden Hour'. It is essential that our emergency services can get to the scene of a collision in the quickest and safest manner possible and that any casualty or casualties can get the best possible medical attention within that time frame," he said.
Mr Flynn, who is also a former member of the Mid-West Major Emergency Planning Group, has called on the relevant authorities to undertake an immediate review of the layout of the M18.
"An emergency access point should be provided every five kilometres on any motorway to ensure services can cross over if they need to. To have them drive so far out of their way, and passing an accident to get there, is a waste of valuable time which needs to be dealt with. It is time that the NRA and Clare County Council looked seriously at providing emergency access," the councillor added.