'This road is clearly unsafe'

Dónal Nolan

An 80-year-old man was lucky to escape with his life in the latest serious accident on a road many feel should be now closed due to the threat it poses to motorists and residents.

The latest accident on the Dale/Rathscannell Road occurred on Sunday as the man's vehicle plummeted off the side of the raised, causeway road. He went down a steep incline within metres of a family home, ending up on its roof.

The man was rushed to hospital by ambulance and is understood to be making a good recovery without serious injury.

But many locals have had enough of living in the shadow of the lethal stretch. 

Fine Gael County Councillor Aoife Thornton is now calling for urgent action before it is too late.

"In my view, the road is no longer safe for road users. I'm not an engineer, though, so that is why I am now asking Kerry County Council to assess the Dale/Rathscannell Road as to its safety for road users and residents, considering the sheer number of accidents on it over the years," Cllr Thornton said.

"It's not acceptable to ask people to live under this road, where some won't even let children play in the garden for fear of a car crash.

"We have to assess it now to see if Kerry County Council deem it safe for use. If not, it should be closed immediately by the Council, but if they feel it is safe, we need to hear what measures are required immediately. €300,000 was allocated  a few weeks ago for a full redesign of the road and to acquire the lands needed for it. If the Council is to leave it open, some of the funds need to be used to put in place urgent safety measures. 

"If nothing is done there is going to be a fatality before long, in my view," Cllr Thornton warned.

 If the Council moves to close the road, it is likely that the alternative diversion would travel northwards via Killahan to the west of the treacherous road, pending its full reconstruction.