Fears of a tragedy at Portarlington school

Parents of children attending Sandy Lane NS in Port say someone will be killed unless Laois County Council installs a pedestrian crossing.

The 90 pupil school has no parking or set down area, and is sited on a busy road in the centre of town.

Parents claim it is being used as a short cut by drivers rushing between the boys’ school and new girls’ school, at either end of the town.

“They seem to forget there is a school here too. Cars are flying by, even driving up on the footpath. If it’s raining at all, you are taking your life in your hands,” said a frustrated mother.

There have already been several near misses and minor collisions they claim.

“There is going to be a child killed, I don’t want it to be one of mine,” said parents council member Imelda O’Connell.

She took it on herself a fortnight ago to email a raft of politicians, and Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has since contacted Laois County Council, promising to get back to her when they reply to him.

“What we are really looking for is a pedestrian crossing. Kids are crossing the road while the cars are flying by. We are only looking for something we are entitled to,” she said.

Another member of the parents council says they have been asking for safety measures, such as the crossing or speed ramps, for the past five years to no avail.

“We have called the council and they have come outand looked, but we are still waiting on something,” she said.

They also question why they are the only school in Port not to have a crossing.

Laois County Council executive roads engineer Stan Cullen says money has been sought from the Government to put safety measures at the school.

“We have applied for safety funding from the Department of Transport. The school actually applied quite close to the deadline last September. We won’t know if that is successful until early 2014, usually they publish by the end of January,” he explained.

He is confident the school will get a crossing next year.

“I would be hopeful we would be able to do something next year,” he said.

Mr Cullen said a road through Lansdowne Estate, still closed due to the housing bust, would have alleviated traffic congestion.

“I know Sandy Lane does serve quite a big area of the town,” he agreed.

He was asked if other measures such as speed bumps or a one-way system would be considered.

“Once we have funding, we can look at whatever measures can be done, as soon as we can,” he said.




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