Tuesday 20 March 2018

Parents fear children are in danger of being injured by road chaos

Bus driver John Shiels at the school.
Bus driver John Shiels at the school.

Alison Comyn

ANOTHER NEW term has just begun, yet parents at Donacarney NS say they are bitterly disappointed none of the safety measures they were promised have materialised.

The morning and afternoon chaos at the two adjacent rural schools shows no sign of abating.

Parents and children still running the risk of serious injury, as cars line both sides of the narrow road, and buses, cars and lorries fight their way down the centre of the road.

Last week, an ambulance was held up in the afternoon jam for almost 20 minutes, but thankfully it was not on an emergency call out.

'I am disgusted that here we are again, and there is no sign of the pedestrian crossing, the lights or the lollipop lady we were promised,' says mum Jenny Walsh.

'We were led to believe they would all be in place for this new term, but once again, the parents are having to act as wardens to prevent a tragedy.'

Bus driver John Sheils has been ferrying students to and from the school for over 14 years.

He says the lorries being routed past the school, coupled with a small minority of irresponsible parents, are making the situation impossible.

'It just gets worse every year,' he tells the Drogheda Independent. 'I sit in the bus waiting to collect the children and the speed of the cars passing by is ridiculous.

'The bus bays are always full of cars and when we ask them to move we get abused from a height, even threatened on more than one occasion.

'I don't know what the answer is but the illegal parking is the main cause of the problem, and the Gardaí ignoring it.'

John and the other bus drivers have to try and stick to a timetable, but often they are delayed by up to an hour due to badly parked cars.

'The amount of trucks that pass by this school at school times is also unnecessary - they could easily use the Golf Links Road - but that would add extra fuel so costs are being put before the safety of the children,' he says with frustration.

'It's the parents who turn up late who cause the most chaos, stopping their cars in the middle of the road, and doing three point turns instead of clearing the road when they have collected their child.'

John says he is not alone in worrying what will happen if this is allowed to continue.

'I have no choice but to drive around bends on the wrong side of the road, with children dodging across the road around me,' he explains.

'It doesn't take a genius to see what is going to happen, but the promises that were made have all turned out to be empty.'

Drogheda Independent