This is the question the locals from the hamlet between Killygordon and Castlefin are looking for. They want to know why the road that runs through their village has become something like a Formula 1 racetrack and there seem to be no speed limits in place.
It may sound unbelievable but according to an alderman and a national school superintendent, it’s only a matter of time before speed kills.
Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal Borough President Cllr Patrick McGowan raised his concerns at a council meeting saying that vehicles were traveling through the village faster than ever before.
He feels that the time has come for action, not words.
“There was a meeting of the local clergy, the local national school board and residents about seven or eight years ago to highlight the issues but apart from some small business, nothing happened.
“Drivers don’t seem to realize that Liscooley is an actual village, it’s almost as if it’s gone.
“They fly through it like a Formula One racetrack without thinking of the local school, church and cemetery, farming community, local housing estate, community events, and the fact that it’s at a crossroads or home to one of the busiest petrol stations in the county.”
He points to the fact that underground wires have been laid to connect them to traffic controls but no lights or crossings have been delivered because the road is “too fast”.
“The road was resurfaced a while ago, but the improved surface has only increased the speed of the vehicles.
There’s a flashing sign on the side of Killygordon that tells you how fast you’re going.
“This is supposed to slow you down and in some cases, it might work but there isn’t a similar sign on the Castlefin side where you can say the road is better and the cars are faster.”
Cllr McGowan said the council’s roads department needs to revisit this issue as well as liaising with Ireland’s transport infrastructure to provide some consistency in the enforcement of speed zones for schools.
“You drive into Galway or via Monaghan and you can see zebra crossings and speed management provisions, so why not here in Donegal? Locals compare it to a game of Russian roulette with their kids in the firing line crossing that road and that’s simply not good enough.”
His concerns were echoed in a letter sent to the council by Wendy Long, Headteacher and Board of Donoghmore National School.
“Our school sits on the side of the busy N15, with room for two school buses alone. All other parents dropping off and collecting children by car must park at/on the footpath, risking high speed traffic passing by, with traffic not slowing down to accommodate the narrow road.
A group of children from Donoughmore National School in Liscooley who took part in the County Council’s road safety event
“The other option for them is to park in the church car park across the road and then try to cross the busy road with young children, along with those who have children/children under school age who they can’t leave unattended in their car and so have to bring them back and forth across the road.” With them.
There is no designated crossing point, no official crossing, and no lights. After we met with representatives of the National Road Authority a few years ago, we were told that it was against regulations to install a crossing on a national highway. However, there is a lot of talk that one will be installed at Balelaste National School to facilitate the new green road. We would like to know if this is true or not. Have any regulations been changed as to allowing the installation of ramps, speed bumps, etc.? ”
Ms Long said that although there are speed restrictions on this road, no one seems to be enforcing them.
“The majority of traffic travels through the village at high speed. There is a speed beacon on the Killygordon side of the school and we feel this helps drivers be more aware as they approach the school and slow down a bit.
“However, there is nothing on the Castlefin side of the school – can anyone be pinned? We have recently had a few near misses out of school. Can Donegal County Council please help as we are very concerned about the safety of our pupils, parents and teachers?”
Donegal County Council roads engineer Claire MacGyver told the municipal area meeting that she had spoken to the council’s safety engineer about Liscooley and he had agreed to meet the executive engineer and they would look at various issues including intersections with poor sight lines and speed within the village in general.
“It comes down to resources. I know the safety engineer is very busy with other things as well. It’s on my list of things to do. I’ll give members an update once we have that meeting.”