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Saturday 16 November 2019

Meeting on school bus bottleneck

Simon Bourke

Members of the council's Roads Department are to meet with Gardaí in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion at Talbot Green during schools' closing times.

Speaking at a meeting of Wexford Borough District, Councillor Tom Forde brought the issue to the attention of Council Engineer, Sean Kavanagh. 'The buses at Talbot Green, and the traffic there at school times, have been highlighted by the residents. There's a lot of schoolchildren gathering in that area, we've had serious accidents there twice,' said Cllr Forde.

In response Mr Kavanagh said, 'The Gardaí are looking into the issue but there's no proposals in relation to it at this point in time.'

For Councillor Davy Hynes, who lives in the Talbot Green area, this response did not suffice. 'This has come up I don't know how many diferent times over the years,' he said. 'I don't think it's ever going to be solved unless the buses are moved. That place there continues to be a thorn in everyone's side. Every so often the residents kick up about it, but it's not going to go away, and the guards going round there isn't going to make any difference.'

Explaining that, because they are privately operated, many of the school buses don't have to report to the council, the guards or the schools themselves, Mr Kavanagh admitted he wasn't sure what, if any, kind of solution could be offered at this point in time. Then, having been pressed by Councillor John Hegarty for the council's official view on traffic congestion in the area, Mr Kavanagh said, 'At the moment we have no view, the dynamics of the school transport system seems to have changed in town, the schools closing times, particularly on Monday and Tuesday, have changed and that has had an impact on the dyanmics of traffic at school times. There probably needs to be a forum, with the schools and the interested parties, to see how this matter can be streamlined. At this point in time I'll talk further to Gardai and see if I can start this process.'

Once more, Cllr Hynes took issue with this response, 'Surely to God we have a view? There's an awful lot of congestion, the buses are pulling in, the paths are in bits for a start, those paths have been done I don't know how many times. There's always a possiblity someone is going to get hit going across, so I really think we need to be proactive in terms of what we want to do here. We need to keep traffic flowing and keep as many people safe as we can.'

Attempting to bring some semblance to proceedings, Councillor Gary Laffan suggested he and his fellow elected members sit down to discuss the matter in advance of the next District Meeting rather than wait another four weeks to bring it up.

Cllr Hegarty welcomed this suggestion, but added that, ultimately, this was an issue which could only be solved by those within the council's engineering department.

'The starting point is an engineering decision. I agree with Councillor Laffan; we'll give a fair opinion, and the residents will have a very strong opinion, but they're all just opinions. I've had ideas before which engineers have said won't work, so I think that has to be the starting point.'

Bringing the discussion to a close, Mr Kavanagh said he would set up a meeting with Chief Technician David Codd and the guards in advance of the next Borough District Meeting.

Wexford People

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