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Breaffy to block road over speed limit concerns


ROAD WORKS Road works taking place in Breaffy village during the summer. However a local campaign to have the speed limit on the nearby main road reduced to 60kmh has been unsuccessful to date. Pic: @BreaffyNS on Twitter

Edwin McGreal

A road blockage will take place in Breaffy on Sunday next after a local campaign to reduce the speed limit through the village to 60kmh was rejected by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
The community protest, with the support of local county councillors, will take place at approximately 12.15pm, after 11.30am Mass at St Aloysius's Church in Breaffy.
The blocking of the road was confirmed at yesterday's (Tuesday) meeting of Castlebar Municipal District.
There, councillors were given an update on the situation and it emerged there was confusion over whether TII (formerly the National Roads Authority, who have responsibility for speed limits on national roads) were in contact with Mayo County Council or not since they met a month ago.
The N60 main Castlebar to Claremorris road passes through the village of Breaffy and the current speed limit is 100kmh. In the village itself the national school has over 400 pupils while on the opposite side of the road there are two hotels in Breaffy House Resort and considerable traffic also at the local GAA pitch. There have been a number of accidents in Breaffy in recent years, though not all related to speed.
Recent village enhancement works have been carried out just off the main N60 road and locals have been campaigning vigourously for the reduction in the speed limit to 60kmh to adequately reflect traffic volumes in the village.
Councillors met with the TII in early October to push for the 60kmh speed limit but the TII said they were only willing to reduce the limit to 80kmh and added it could be subsequently reviewed at a later stage.
"What we were effectively told by the TII is to reduce it to 80kmh and if there were more casualties, they'd reduce it to 60kmh," said Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.  
Cllr Blackie Gavin asked 'is the protest going ahead on Sunday so or not'?
"Let's deliver what we promised the people in Breaffy, the same as the people in Bohola. Nothing else but a 60kmh limit," said Cllr Gavin.
There was a previous successful campaign in Bohola for a reduction of the speed limit through the village which also led to a blocking of the road by members of the community, with the support of councillors.
Cllr Kilcoyne said he had spoken to Minister Michael Ring who, Cllr Kilcoyne said, is supportive of the Breaffy campaign. Cllr Kilcoyne said Minister Ring was in discussions with the TII who told him that they were discussing plans with Mayo County Council.
However, Acting Head of Castlebar Municipal District, John McHale, told the meeting that he had written to the TII on two separate occasions and received no response. He added he had also checked with the Head of Roads in Mayo County Council who also received no communication from the TII.
The meeting also heard suggestions of a bypass for the village and for the erection of school time speed limits.
Senior Engineer with Mayo County Council Ann Sweeney said there was previous work done on a bypass proposal for the village which could be examined.
"It is one of the busiest roads in the county. Regardless of the speed limit, it could be worth exploring a bypass if the final goal is to remove that level of traffic from the village," she said.
Cllr Kilcoyne said the 'TII appear to be dragging their heels'.
"We argued that if there was nothing done by November 11, we would have a protest. Should we go ahead?"
The councillors all agreed to a protest this coming Sunday.