Thursday 22 March 2018

Fatality fears at Clonroche school

School seeks traffic calming measures urgently for children

Clonroche NS principal Norma Doyle
Clonroche NS principal Norma Doyle
Some of the crowd in attendance at the meeting.

David Looby

Children attending Clonroche NS are at risk of being knocked down and killed unless traffic calming measures are put in place urgently.

At a recent meeting held in the village, parents spoke of their experiences of dropping off and collecting children at the school, which is located near a 60 km/h speed zone, and which sees hundreds of large vehicles pass its gates every day.

A packed audience listened to speakers outline the dangerous situation which exists outside the school. A recent speed survey found that 80 per cent of vehicles speed passed the school.

Clonroche NS Principal Norma Doyle said the school has been fighting for traffic management controls for five years. This week a letter outlining issues raised by parents at the meeting and requests for actions by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Wexford County Council, was sent to the local authority.

Ms Doyle said: 'While an electronic speed sign has been erected, more needs to be done. It was suggested at the meeting that large electronic signs alerting drivers to the school could be erected. Our school is in an exceptional position as we are located on a main national road just inside the village boundary.'

Cllr John Fleming and Cllr Michael Sheehan attended the meeting, and there were apologies from councillors, Deputy Paul Kehoe and New Ross District Director Sinead Casey. Inspector Syl Hipwell was in attendance for the gardaí.

Clonroche NS has 96 pupils, down around 20 from 2015 due to emigration and other factors. The school's board of management has had to spend thousands of euros making the area in front of the school as safe as possible in recent years. 'We took a large section of the playground for staff cars. It was all paid for by us.'

Ms Doyle said parents complain on a weekly basis about how dangerous the road is. 'A couple of years ago there was a crash out there. People are angry as they fear that something is going to happen. Wexford County Council have said on a few occasions that we are the same as Camolin, but they are not on the top of a hill at the entrance to a village. We are exceptional so we can't understand why there aren't exceptional measures for us. I know there are space and logistical issues but they have never even been looked into.'

Ms Doyle said articulated lorries don't have time to slow down as they enter the village. 'It's 60 km/h as you approach the village so by the time they are at the school they are still a good bit away from 50 km/h.'

She said the local authority has large electronic signs alerting drivers to car parking spaces in Wexford town and yet will not pay for signs to protect children's lives in Clonroche.

'It's something you're on the watch out every day and every day you're hoping it won't be that day. A couple of years ago there was a crash on that road and the TII won't act unless there is another one. If anything happens out there you feel you have tried your best to prevent one.'

New Ross Standard