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Islandeady community to resist nine month local road closure


CLOSURE WILL HAVE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT Liam Keaveney, Chairperson of Islandeady Community Council.

Main road into village set to be closed for N5 works

Edwin McGreal

The lengthy closure of the main access road to the village of Islandeady for the construction of the new Westport to Castlebar road has met with local resistance.
The main road from the N5 into the village and its church, GAA grounds and many homes and businesses is the L1811 and a 400m stretch of that road from the N5 down is currently due to be closed for a period of nine months.
Locals say the closure is exasperated by the geographic nature of the locality. The presence of many lakes mean those who would normally use this road face lengthy diversions, either by going through the town of Castlebar and driving into Islandeady from the Newport Road side or by entering/exiting the N5 closer to Westport via Derrada.
Cloggernagh NS, Bilberries Playgroup and the local graveyard are on one side of the closure with the church and GAA club on the other side.
Local representatives met with Mayo County Council and the road construction company Wills Brothers recently to voice the concerns of locals, which were voiced at a meeting of the community council on July 13.
“At this meeting it was brought to our attention of the upcoming closure of the road which leads down to the Islandeady village and wider community. It was the first we heard about this as nobody else in the room was aware the road was about to be closed. We arranged to have a meeting with representatives of Mayo County Council and the construction company Wills Bros Ltd as soon as possible,” Liam Keaveney, Chairman of Islandeady Community Council told The Mayo News.
On Monday last, July 27, members of the community council, the church, the GAA club, St Paul’s NS, Cloggernagh and Bilberries Playgroup along with local residents and businesspeople had a ‘constructive’ meeting with Mayo County Council and Wills Bros Ltd. Liam Keaveney stressed that Islandeady Community Council ‘fully supported’ the road project, publicly endorsing it at a public consultation meeting in 2014.
“We appreciate that construction of the new road has to take place, but the closure of this road which is the main primary link to our community will have a serious and detrimental impact to local people and the wider community who use the road,” said Liam Keaveney.                                  
“The proposed access to Islandeady via the L-5849 Derrada Road and the L-1810 Fahybeg Road for the nine month duration will not be adequate for servicing the primary school and playgroup, for GAA games and for teams travelling to the GAA grounds as these roads will not be capable of facilitating extra traffic on those narrow roads, not to mention the potential chaos a funeral will now create if the deceased has to be buried in Islandeady Cemetery.
“Under the proposed road closure arrangement, in the event of a funeral in Islandeady, the grieving family and undertaker will have to go back towards Derrycoosh and go in the Newport Road into Castlebar and come out the Westport Road to Islandeady or go back towards Westport and come out at Derrada and make their way back to the cemetery and, to be fair, no matter which journey is taken, it will be adding an extra 30 minute journey over to Islandeady Cemetery which today is currently only five minutes away from the church,” he said.
“The people representing Wills Bros Ltd have agreed to come back to us in the coming weeks with some alternatives to mitigate against the disruption this proposed road closure will cause. We have received confirmation that the road will not be closed on August 11 as advertised and will remain open until we have seen and are satisfied with the proposals that come back to the group so the day to day life can continue and the overall community is not severely impacted,” he said.