Fine Gael Cllr Garry Murtagh
Works aimed at improving road safety at one of north Longford's most hazardous junctions has been given the thumbs up locally.
Upgrades to Smear Cross have already gotten underway in a bid to improve sight line access for motorists and road users.
The move was taken following a lengthy consultation process between the local community and area engineers regarding the layout of the junction.
Instead of carrying out a full realignment of the junction to link in with the Arva road, a more cost effecive and swifter remedy was taken to make the existing junction safer.
“There has been numerous calls over the years for improvements to the Junction which has proven difficult due to the proximity of the Smear Cross Shrine,” said Fine Gael Cllr Garry Murtagh.
“The Shrine was erected in 1954, known as the Marian year, it is dedicated to honouring Our Lady.
“The Shrine has been a significant focal point to the people of Smear and surrounding areas over the years.”
As part of the low cost safety scheme a new railing surrounding the monument will be installed.
It's anticipated the new railing will replace its original equivalent that has been damaged by passing traffic over the years.
For the future preservation of the Shrine, and for aesthetic reasons, the community have decided to also re-position the Shrine.
“Not since the eighties has there been the sighting of moving statues in Ireland,” remarked Cllr Murtagh, somewhat tongue in cheek.
“It is only for preservation and aesthetic reasons the shrine is being moved, so the people of Smear and north Longford can continue with their daily lives and in passing may also take the time to say a prayer.”