Donabate residents ‘under siege’ have had enough

by Sylvia Pownall
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DONABATE residents under siege from construction traffic say they’ve had enough after a JCB being loaded onto a truck missed hitting a lollipop lady by just metres.


The heavy machinery was moved at 8.45am and forced children walking to the national school onto the busy roadway as it blocked the pavement.


One eye witness told Dublin Gazette: “It’s a wonder nobody was killed. The kids couldn’t access the pedestrian crossing and the lollipop lady was right behind the truck.”


Fingal County Council said the matter had been investigated and the contractor involved had given written assurance it would not happen again.


The council’s enforcements section has received 181 complaints regarding construction works in Donabate and Portrane in the past year.


The dad-of-two who witnessed the incident, who asked not to be named, said people were now fearful of letting their children walk to school.


He said: “If they just delayed it for another 40 minutes then the children would have been out of the way and the rush hour would have been over. It’s not rocket science, but they seem to believe that they can do what they want.”


Cllr Joe Newman (Ind), who put forward a motion calling on the council to liaise with local residents on traffic issues, said the level of construction traffic on the peninsula’s narrow roads was now posing a serious risk to life.


He said: “What happened near the school was a very serious issue. Residents have put up with a lot and they are now saying enough is enough.”


Numerous motions have been tabled by councillors over the potholed roads, the level of construction traffic and apparent breaches of planning conditions.


In January, the issue was reported to the Road Safety Authority and gardai were notified of last week’s dangerous incident.


A public meeting hosted by the Supporting Proper Development in Donabate group (SPDD) heard the peninsula’s population will more than double to 21,000 people by 2021.


Under the council’s development plan, there are 3,935 homes planned with more than 1,000 units either under construction or granted permission, in addition to work on the new hospital at St Ita’s.


Alarmingly, another 750 units can be constructed before the distributor road is completed, meaning more heavy construction vehicles will access the peninsula via a narrow bridge.


An SPDD spokesperson said: “We have no commitment on the safety of children going to school due to narrow footpaths and roads.


“We have no commitments on when the road at the bridge will be widened. We have no commitments on plans for a slipway to the M1.


“SPDD recognises and fully supports the need for housing. All development needs to be carried out in a sustainable way and appropriate community facilities and infrastructure must be in place to reflect the growing population.”


In a statement, Fingal County Council said: “We immediately contacted the developer and the planning enforcement officer visited the site when the incident was notified to us.


“We have received written assurance from the developer that such an incident will not happen again and they are aware that the council will continue to monitor construction sites in the area to enforce planning compliance.


“The council will also be writing to all developers in the area in the coming days to remind them of their construction management responsibilities.”

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