‘Accident waiting to happen’ at St Emer’s NS

The heavy traffic at St Emer's NS on Tuesday morning as children arrived for school. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Plans are in place to transfer a plot of land to a local school after the principal described the chronic traffic situation there as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

Plans are in place to transfer a plot of land to a local school after the principal described the chronic traffic situation there as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

Martina McCormack, principal of St Emer’s NS in Longford town told a meeting of Longford Municipal District on Monday night there was nowhere for cars to park at the school when parents arrived to drop off and collect children, and children who embarked from buses were forced to walk ‘in and out of cars’ to get to the school.

“We are very lucky something hasn’t happened already,” she said, adding, “But there is no doubt it is an accident waiting to happen.”

Ms McCormack, who is principal at the school for the last four years, also pointed out that enrolments at the school were increasing year on year and the facility was now serving a bigger catchment area.

“We have a huge volume of traffic in the area at the same time and many parents have nowhere to stop or pull in to drop off or collect their children,” she added.

“We are very concerned about the situation.”

Meanwhile, Pat Mollaghan of the Oaklands Residents Association, where the school is located, told the meeting, “Our estate is completely blocked with traffic.”

“There are people trying to get to the local funeral home while children are being collected from school, and it is chaos.

“On a wet day, children are being called to the cars by their parents and the children run straight out onto the road - it is so dangerous now, and it is an accident waiting to happen - there is no doubt about that.”

Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) then proposed that land owned by the local authority at the school be transferred over, so that when necessary funding was secured, the site could be turned into a car park.

He also had a notice of motion down on the matter calling for ‘The grassed area in front of St Emer’s School be converted for car parking to ameliorate the extreme traffic congestion causing major health and safety concerns’.

“I would suggest the residents association apply for the funding and it is very possible that we could have this problem sorted out by September,” Cllr Butler added.

In conclusion, Senior Engineer, Longford Co Council Eamon Bennett pointed out that while there would not be a problem transferring the land over to the school, the local authority would not be responsibility for the provision of funding to turn it into a car park.

“That,” he added, “Is the responsibility of the Department of Education to deal with.”