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Call for safety works near Laois school to be carried out before students return in September

Scoil Bhride Knockmay

A Laois County Councillor has called for safety works at a Portlaoise primary school to be carried out before children return in September.

Sinn Fein Councillor Caroline Dwane-Stanley made the call at a recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District in relation to Scoil Bhride in Knockmay.

Cllr Dwane-Stanley described the situation at the school currently as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

The school has around 800 pupils and many of these walk to the school from Hillview Drive, Parnell Cresent, Oakleaf Place and Clonrooske View.

The children walk along Harpurs Lane runs between the Mountmellick N80 and Portlaoise link road – with considering traffic here too.

Cllr Dwane-Stanley called for a Road Safety Audit to be carried out here and inquired at the meeting when the findings would be available.

Council engineer Seamus Quinn said: “The assessment examined 500m of Harpurs Lane from the roundabout including its junctions with Scoil Bhride, Hillview Drive, Parnell Crescent, Oakleaf Place and Clonrooske View.

“The draft recommendations are under consideration by the council.

“Broadly, they include a range of road safety interventions. Once the report is finalised, the council will confirm recommendations and endeavour to identify funding opportunities to progress the project through detailed design and construction stages.”

In response, Cllr Dwane-Stanley said she was disappointed with this and felt the findings would have arrived by now.

She said: “I put this motion down three or four months ago. I thought the findings of the road safety audit would be before us today, our last meeting before the summer.

“Now it will be next September and kids will be back in Scoil Bhride Knockmay. I thought we would be dealing with the nuts and bolts today.

“The dangerous situation in the area has had a huge impact on Hillview Drive, Parnell Crescent, Oakleaf Place and Clonrooske View. Over 800 attend the school. Cars are parked everywhere. It is an accident waiting to happen.

“I hope that the audit might include measures around the uncontrolled pedestrian crossing.

“I’ve paid for speed ramps and I acknowledge that Treo Nua family resource centre is working with the residents, credit to the residents of Knockmay on this. In the meantime please send us the report.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.