Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams attended a Dáil briefing on Tuesday given by a Working Group of Residents who will be significantly impacted by the N52 Ardee by-pass. The briefing was attended by the Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
The families live on the Mullanstown Road, Townspark Road and Silverhill Road, two of which will become cul-de-sacs if the current N52 plans go ahead unchanged. The presentation was made by Fergal Finn and Anne Lennon.
Teachta Adams met several of the Working Group two weeks ago when they brought him and Councillor Pearse McGeough along the affected roads and explained the community concerns and the environmental impact of the proposals.
Gerry Adams said:
“I asked Minister Ross, who attended the Dáil briefing to listen carefully to the briefing by the local community representatives and to look closely at their reasonable and thoughtful alternative proposals to the currents plan.
Like everyone else in and around Ardee the families welcome the decision to finally move ahead with the Ardee by-pass. However, they correctly point out that the N52 Realignment project was granted permission 12 years ago in 2006. Since then there have been community, demographic, sporting and environmental changes which the plan fails to take account of.
As a result of the current proposal the Townspark Road and the Mullanstown Road will become cul-de-sacs and the Silverhill Road will have a staggered ghost island junction. The Silverhill Road is essentially a narrow country lane which is inadequate for the substantially increased traffic it will now be expected to take, including school buses servicing the Tallanstown National School, Ardee Community Secondary School and the Ardee Day Care. The road is also prone to flooding.
The imposition of the current plans will in some instances double the physical length that residents have to walk or drive and will increase the time it takes for residents to reach Ardee. It will also present safety concerns for people travelling to the Ardee Celtic grounds.
The bogland between the Townspark Road and Silverhill Road is now a National Heritage area which seeks to protect our natural fauna, bird life and other wildlife. The current plans pre-date this development and no environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
The residents’ proposals outline a number of common sense, practical solutions to resolve the difficulties arising from the current plans. These include the use of over-pass and under-pass arrangements, as well as traffic lights. I asked the Minister to support these proposals.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD, is calling for amendments to the proposed plans for the N52 Ardee bypass following a meeting with the Ardee Residents Committee.
Deputy Munster said:
“Minister Ross announced on 23rd December that the project is now “shovel ready” to go ahead but the residents committee are urgently seeking a review to ensure that the safest methods are employed to maintain continuity of access for the community into and out of Ardee town, while diverting the Heavy Goods Vehicle traffic from the town.
While the committee stress that they welcome the bypass, they are concerned that the realignment design needs to be modified to reflect changing demographics in the area during the intervening 12 years since the plans were originally finalised in 2006. The community understand and support the need for the bypass to join the the N2 but they do not accept that this necessitates the closure of two roads with cul-de-sacs which would permanently block local traffic from travelling two established direct routes in and out of Ardee town. They contend that with innovative engineering there is a safe way to retain both roads open and at the same time achieve the stated objective of the N52 bypass while maintaining through access with other options such as roundabouts, traffic lights, staggered junctions and flyovers/tunnels.
I have requested a meeting with Minister of Transport, Shane Ross and a small delegation from the residents committee to highlight the negative affect the plan as it stands will have on the communities to the north of Ardee town and the bypass.
I do hope the Minister will make himself available to meet with the delegation.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Kenneth Flood has slammed Louth County Council following two unannounced water outages on two consecutive days in the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area.
Councillor Flood said “In the early afternoons of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of March I was inundated with calls from residents of several estates asking why there was no water in the area. I contacted Irish Water to query this on both days and was told on both days that they had no information.”
Councillor Flood then proceeded to contact Louth County Council who informed him they were ‘aware of an issue and it would be resolved soon.’
Cllr Flood was told on the second day of the water outage “that contractors were stress testing the new water-main for the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area, but that the water was only supposed to be off for 15 minutes. This was not the case. Residents were without water for up to 5 hours and when supply did eventually return it was murky and undrinkable.”
Councillor Flood said “They must be detached from reality not to think of the thousands of residents who were plagued by water outages for years until the North Quay watermain was replaced. Their unannounced testing caused severe stress and concern among residents. I shared the information via social media and then spent hours phoning residents back to tell them what had happened. Again, a lack of information and communication from Louth County Council.”
Kenneth Flood had harsh words with Louth County Council about these unannounced water outages and told them “they must take heed that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has raised the issue of the unofficial parking taking place on the N53 Castleblayney Road in Dundalk.
Cllr Corrigan said “I have been contacted by a number of residents on this road directly off the M1 roundabout intersection. Some time ago yellow box and double yellow lines were installed to facilitate local residents having clear visibility on turning to their homes from the main road. However, there is now a significant increase in the volume of persons parking their cars on that road to car pool to Dublin and the no parking in the boxes and double yellow lines are no longer being adhered to.”
A second issue was also raised by Edel Corrigan.
“There is also a significant increase in the amount of waste being discarded in this area, from builder’s waste to food and general waste which residents believe to be coming from those parking in the area. I contacted the Council regarding this and welcome the fact that they have already completed a clean-up of the area.”
Cllr Corrigan is seeking longer term solutions to the unofficial parking but unfortunately because of the remoteness of the area from the town, the use of traffic wardens who are on foot, would be unsuitable.
Cllr Corrigan said “Infrastructure are investigating the establishing of proper park and ride facilities for the longer term so hopefully that will alleviate the issues around this particular area.”
Cllr Flood, Imelda Munster TD & Residents at Sunnyside
Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster and local councillor Kenneth Flood have met with residents of Sunnyside to discuss traffic calming measures in the area.
For a number of years residents and parents of students attending the local Sacred Heart School have requested Louth County Council take control of lands known as ‘Kitty Daly’s site’ and use it to widen a perilous stretch of road for the safety of both locals and students of the school at Sunnyside.
However, in December last year, Louth County Council CEO Joan Martin said the council would not be in a position of going down the road for first registration and that the file should now be closed.
Commenting Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said,
“I have met with Louth County Council Officials on this issue several times in the past and the answer has always been the same. The council refuse to register the land which they own and now, they have abandoned their claim to the site without attempting to alleviate the traffic congestion at this dangerous bottle neck.
“This issue has been raised multiple times by my party colleagues going back almost two decades. After my latest meeting with Council Officials, Deputy Imelda Munster and I met with local residents at the site to discuss the council’s refusal to take a position on the land. We have also looked at other options where improvements could be made to alleviate the problems at this junction.
“I have now submitted a motion to the April Municipal District of Drogheda meeting calling on Louth County Council to install a mini roundabout to help ease traffic movement and also to install a footpath from the school to the junction of Blackbush Lane so the 600 students of Sacred Heart School don’t have to cross the road in heavy traffic.
” If the council give the usual answer of “no funding available” then my colleague Deputy Munster will pursue this issue with the Department of Transport.
The issues at this site have been ongoing for decades and Louth County Council have been aware of them. Now that CEO Joan Martin has publicly stated that the book should be closed on the council’s ownership of the property at this site which could have solved the problems, the Council must now take action on my motion and use the site to solve the traffic and improve road safety problems in the area”.