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Judge calls for action on ‘notorious’ junction



Ger Flanagan

A CIRCUIT Court judge has called on Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Mayo County Council to address the speed limits at a ‘notorious’ junction along the N5 in Swinford.
Judge Rory McCabe made the comment at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court, when he was presiding over a case involving a fatal road-traffic collision that occurred last year.
The court heard that ‘a momentary loss of concentration’ resulted in the death of 64-year-old Brian Bacon from Kilkelly, who died when his car was struck from behind by another motorist and pushed into the path of an oncoming lorry at the turn off for the R320 along the N5 at Carracanada, Swinford.
Judge McCabe said he was familiar with the stretch of road where the accident occurred and described it as ‘notorious’ from the ‘point of view of accidents’.
“It may well be time that the local authorities have a look at the speed limits that exist at the junction and consider that they be altered,” he commented.
Speaking to The Mayo News last year in the wake of the accident, Swinford-based councillor Michael Smyth said that he has raised the safety concerns regarding the R320 and R375 junctions along the N5 on a number of occasions. Cllr Smyth said more people will be killed unless safety measures were taken.
“There has been a number of incidents on that road, and I have raised this with the TII and Mayo County Council, but unfortunately it seems there hasn’t been enough deaths for anything to be done about it. Crossing that road is horrendous, and more people are going to be killed.
“There are about six exits onto the N5 near Swinford, and that is way too many. The road was built in 1980, and it would never have been allowed to be built like that now. The road is getting busier, and the way it is now, it is too easy for people to be rear-ended,” he said.
The speed limit along that stretch of the N5 is 100km per hour, and Cllr Smyth believes that the speed limit needs to be reduced. He also feels that a roundabout at the junction of the N5 and N26 could also help to reduce traffic speeds.