Tuesday 21 May 2019

Councillors slam the 'sneaky' closure of N20 junction

Maria Herlihy

A request to suspend standing orders was made by a councillor who said the manner in which the Waterloo junction was closed was "farcical".

Cllr Bob Ryan (FF) led the charge at the Blarney Macroom district meeting and said there was ironically "very little light at the end of the tunnel" on the matter. 

He said an order to have it further closed until November 30 has been put in place while councillors are adamant they will not support the closure. 

"Safety is the ultimate thing but the manner in which this was done has been appalling. This morning I got an email from the Waterloo Action Committee outlining that they are now bringing a Judicial Review on the matter and have engaged the services of a senior counsel," he said. 

"This really is serious that a community feel it necessary to do this. We need common sense to be brought back into this process. People's lives have been greatly impinged by closing this junction." 

Cllr Michael Creed (FG) supported the words of Cllr Ryan and further added that he has attended numerous public meetings and the "angst and anger" can be clearly seen. 

"No councillor in this region supports it. The council are saying that they [closed it] on safety grounds.  We will not vote for any road closure and if the community win the judicial review, then so be it," he said. 

The Waterloo Junction was closed during the summer to allow work to be carried out on the N20. However, residents were of the view that the closure would be temporary but now, with closure until November, they are livid. 

A safety audit was carried out at the junction after a number of accidents. There was also a double fatality last year which involved two US tourists. The review recommended a full closure and the audit found that many of the accidents involved southbound tourists and hire cars making a satnav-directed right turn to Blarney. 

Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said the road was temporarily closed but then it "just stayed closed". 

"It really was done so sneaky and is so wrong. The people living in Waterloo and Whitechurch are very annoyed. Another way will have to be found besides closing the road but this must be done soon. People's lives are being severely disrupted, from going to school to getting to work," she said. 

Cllr Kevin Conway (Ind) also described the situation as "farcical". 

"Indeed, the whole thing is questionable, and just who made that decision to close it? Traffic is now going up a road that is absolutely not suitable, and it is then coming out onto the main road, which is right at a very fast section," he said. 

He said in nearby Rathduff there was also a problem with the junction and traffic-calming measures were put in place. Cllr Conway said in August, just prior to the councillors breaking for the summer recess, they all knew that section of road was being done but none of them "knew a thing" about the closure of the junction. 

Chairing the meeting, Cllr Ted Lucey (FG) said this issue is "breaking up the community". He said that the Waterloo junction needs to be opened immediately.