Local residents have called for safety measures to be put in place at a junction on the N21 near Rathkeale that has been described as a “death trap”.
The junction with the R523 at Killeheen has been the scene of a number of accidents and near-misses in recent years, with one local woman describing how she feared for her life after being rear-ended there just three weeks ago.
Rose English said she had been turning into the junction off the main road when she was hit by another vehicle. The widowed mother-of-two described how her car was a write-off following the accident.
“I am a single parent – my husband died a number of years ago – and I just thought: ‘My children are going to be left without a mother’,” she said.
Ms English was part of a delegation of local residents are who calling for action to be taken to prevent more accidents at the junction. They outlined their concerns to local councillors at this month’s meeting of the Adare Rathkeale municipal district.
Tom Lyons, who also lives in the area and uses the junction regularly, told the meeting that something needed to be done urgently to prevent death or serious injury.
“We are turning in there every day and we have had loads of near misses,” he said.
Mr Lyons pointed out that they had gathered a petition with 200 signatures calling for action. They have suggested that a traffic island should be put in place on the main road and that the hard shoulder should be removed to prevent under-taking and slow down traffic.
Cllr Stephen Keary said he had had “a couple of near misses” himself at that junction and appealed for funding from the NRA to address the danger.
“You are taking your life in you hands when you are stopped in the middle of the road there,” he said.
His Fine Gael colleague Tom Neville also offered his support to the residents.
“There has to be recognition from the NRA that that stretch of road is lethal,” he said.
“How long will it be before they are going to realise that all those junctions from Adare to Reens are death-traps?” he asked.
Cllr Emmett O’Brien agreed that there was a “major problem with speed on that stretch of road”.
However, council roads engineer Robert Gallagher pointed out that, while there was clearly a safety issue with the junction, it would be necessary to have in the order of 400-500 traffic movements every day to be considered for safety works by the EPA.
He also pointed out that the junction with the R523 was one of just several entrances to Rathkeale and that any safety works could not be looked at in isolation without considering the entire stretch of road.
The best solution, he suggested, would be to “rationalise” the number of junctions off the N21. “Any right turning vehicle at that location has the option of turning right a little further on,” he added.