CASTLEBAR councillors are divided over the ongoing issue of the speed limit on the main road through Breaffy village.
Debate on the issue was sparked by a motion from councillor Michael Kilcoyne expressing sympathy with the family of David Henning, who was killed recently in a crash on the road.
Cllr Kilcoyne’s motion, which he tabled at last week’s Castlebar Municipal District meeting, also called for a 60km/h speed limit along the route. The road currently carries a speed limit of 100km/h.
A campaign has been ongoing to lower the speed limit along the Breaffy stretch of the N60, which has been the scene of a number of fatal accidents.
Part 8 planning proposals for a new speed limit are to be published in March following consultation works from contractors appointed by Mayo County Council.
Cllr Kilcoyne called on his fellow councillors to reject any recommendation to lower the speed limit to 80km/h, contending such a reduction would not be adequate.
A report circulated to councillors last year recommended a reduction to 80km/h. The report, which was carried out by Roughnan and O’Donavan Consulting Engineers, said a reduction to 60km/h would cost an estimated €1 million extra to implement.
Supporting Cllr Kilcoyne, Cllr Blackie Gavin said: “It’s past time to put this issue to bed once and for all. The TII has been very slow to deal with the speed limit in Breaffy. I have to say, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Other councillors said that the 80km/h speed limit proposal had a degree of support among local people.
Cllr Al McDonnell said that there was ‘a degree of satisfaction’ with the 80km/h proposal but that a 60km/h speed limit was ‘the ultimate solution’.
Cllr Ger Deere understood that many people were ‘happy’ with the current proposal but said that more traffic-calming measures would be needed to make the road safe.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Martin McLoughlin said the people he had spoken to were ‘very enthusiastic’ about the 80km/h proposal that was before them.
A previous proposal to reduce the speed limit to 80km/h was rejected by Mayo County Council.
“This report was circulated to us two years ago. We sent it back to Breaffy Community Council for their views, we never got their views. In the meantime, another coffin leaves Breaffy carrying a person that was killed in a road accident there. I have yet to meet anyone from Breaffy that is accepting the 80km/h,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
A proposal by council engineer Anne Sweeney to have the options discussed at a workshop was met with strong opposition from Cllrs Gavin and Kicoyne, who insisted that they be discussed at a public meeting.
Cllr McLoughlin requested that the relevant information be circulated to all members of the council for the February meeting of the local authority.
Mayo TD Alan Dillon welcomed the progress that has been made on the topological survey works that started last year.
“With these surveying works nearing conclusion, it is now likely that the Part 8 planning will be published around mid-March 2022 and go for approval,” Dillon stated.
“In addition, a safety assessment in relation to the access/exit from the N60 to the vaccination centre in Breaffy House Hotel has been undertaken. This is particularly important in light of the fatal road traffic collision on this stretch of road over the Christmas period.”