Kilnageer level crossing discussed in Seanad and at council level

THE issue of the dangerous Kilnageer level crossing outside Belcarra, Castlebar, was raised in the Seanad by Senator Paddy Burke this week.

Senator Burke said it was dangerous and confusing where motorists must open and close gates every time they use the crossing. New traffic lights are unclear, he said, and do not give motorists the confidence to cross in safety.

He asked the deputy leader who is well acquainted with the area to ask the Minister for Transport to come into the House and give an up to date report on how many similar level crossings there are throughout the country and to further call on the minister to ask Iarnród Éireann to make this crossing safe, whether by constructing a bridge over the railway or automated gates.

Senator Burke acknowledged the work of residents in raising this issue and who have addressed this subject with Mayo County Council outlining many instances where serious crashes could have happened.

Meanwhile, the pressure is being kept on Iarnród Éireann at county council level to make the construction of a bridge at the rail crossing its number one priority.

Representatives of the company met members of the local community and public representatives at the location last week.

A 'very fruitful' meeting was reported on by Councillor Al McDonnell, who told a local area meeting that a commitment was given to carry out immediate improvements which should enhance safety at the junction. However, he said, when pressed about selecting this project as the number one priority for the country, Irish Rail fell short.

The company promised to apply for planning permission for the bridge, but, he noted, there had been planning granted there before. There was no point having planning if they didn't give the commitment that this was the top priority.

Councillor McDonnell pledged: “When planning is secured we will maintain the campaign to have the bridge constructed as promised.”

Councillor Donna Sheridan said the unmanned crossing at Knockaphunta also couldn't be forgotten about. Both should be kept on the agenda.

Senator Paddy Burke also raised the issue in the Seanad.

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