Saturday 18 November 2017

Safety fears outside Swords Celtic club

Nicola Donnelly

SWORDS Celtic Football Club is calling on Fingal County Council to put in a footpath and lighting along the Balheary Road before a child is knocked down.

The club, which is run in partnership with Fingal County Council's Sports Department, has nearly 600 teenagers and youngsters playing on teams, and the club is fearful that without a proper footpath and lighting in place, that a serious accident may happen.

'We have a major safety problem outside the club grounds where there is no footpath for about 50 yards where the children exit the club grounds onto the Balheary Road. There is no existing footpath until they cross the Ward River Bridge,' Eddie D'Arcy, chairman of Swords Celtic, told the Fingal Independent. 'With a lot of our members being teenagers who now cycle or walk to the club, this is a dangerous situation and we don't want to wait until, God forbid, a child is knocked down before anything is done about it.'

Another nightmare for the club, according to Eddie, is the lack of parking as most Sundays with at least eight teams playing matches, nearly 100 cars are parked at the club with another 100 waiting to park for matches that follow these matches.

'We do need additional parking land but we don't want to close any of the pitches to facilitate this as our club has grown so much in the past five years with nearly 40 teams and training taking place every evening,' he said.

However, he said the council has taken action in alleviating the flooding issues in the vicinity of Swords Celtic, following a meeting by the club with the Roads Department.

'The council cleaned out the drainage ditches and installed gullies and new drainage pipes at the entrance, which is great and we really appreciate this work,' said Eddie.

The council responded to questions from local councillors in relation to the safety measures and lack of parking at the club.

It stated that the Operations Department is examining the feasibility of providing a footpath link across the Ward River Bridge, connecting the public footpath on the Balheary Road with the existing footpath within the Swords Celtic playing fields, which are owned by the council.

Land ownership issues on the Swords side of the bridge are being investigated and other issues, including the bridge's status as a protected structure and the finance required to carry out any works, are also being considered,' the council said.

The council added that in relation to allocating additional land for parking spaces, the matter has been referred to the Property Section and a meeting to discuss the use of the lands is being arranged with the Club.

It also stated that although the lining budget for 2013 is depleted, the council will request 'SLOW' markings to be installed at the entrance to the Club but ramps will not be installed next year as the priority locations for 2014 have already been submitted for consideration for NTA Funding for Low Cost Safety Schemes.

'We will monitor this location and it can be listed for consideration for submissions for funding for the 2015 NTA Low Cost Scheme,' the council added.

Fingal Independent

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