‘WONDERFUL STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION’
.... BUT ‘MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE’ SAYS KILTALLAGH NS PRINCIPAL, WHO SPOKE TO TADHG EVANS ABOUT ROAD SAFETY ISSUES AT THE CASTLEMAINE SCHOOL.
THE headline sums up the views of Kiltallagh National School Principal Paula Ní Bhriain this week following news that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has allocated almost €40,000 for works including the removal of a hedge on the Tralee side of the school, aiming to improve visibility near the school.
The national school is located on the N70, the main road between Tralee and Castlemaine, a few hundred metres before entering Castlemaine village. Ms Ní Bhriain explained to The Kerryman that the hedge, which is on a bend directly before the school, “totally blocks off visibility of the school coming from the Tralee side.
“We’ve campaigned for this for years, and we’re very lucky and grateful for this news,” she said. “The school is totally blocked off from drivers coming from the Tralee side, and the bend also makes pulling out from the school, the community centre, and the soccer grounds very difficult.
“But this only takes out one part of the problem. I would say most cars driving along this road are going over the speed limit [50 kilometres per hour], and if anything they might drive faster once this ditch is taken out of the equation.
“We think LED speed signs would be a strong deterrent, and we’d like to see them installed near the school as part of this project. Our children’s safety is our number one concern, and we need to address the problem in full.
“But this is good news, and I’d like to thank everyone who helped bring this about, including Councillor John Francis Flynn for spearheading this on our behalf and landowner John Joe Ladden.”
Fianna Fáil Councillor John Francis Flynn welcomed the news and said that the work, which he hopes can take place during the mid-term break in over a month’s time “will improve the sightline by about 100 metres” – but he reiterated Ms Ní Bhriain’s concerns about speed.
“We can expect a big improvement in driving conditions once that ditch is out of there and a wall is put in further in from the road,” he said. “The ditch is between the Community Centre and the school, so it will benefit everyone’s view coming out from the centre as well – but it will help everyone in Castlemaine, which is only a few hundred metres from this location.
“My hope now is to see LED speed signage put on the road to try and deter people from speeding, and I’ll continue to campaign for that. But I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far, and I’d like to thank John Joe Ladden for his cooperation and those at the council who’ve helped us.”
Kerry County Council said it will consider electronic speed signs further in consultation with TII.
Cllr John Francis Flynn with John Joe Ladden, Principal Paula Ní Bhrian, teacher Caroline Cronin, SNA Deirdre O’Sullivan, parents Colette Boyle, Katie and Jerry O’Neil, Alison Flaherty, Sinead O’Shea and some of the pupils at Kiltallagh National School, Castlemaine.