Thousands demand action to safeguard school children

by Sylvia Pownall
Donabate and Portrane locals protest to safeguard school children’s journey to school.

Thousands have signed a petition demanding action to safeguard school children in Donabate and Portrane as they travel to and from school.

More than 2,000 people have put their name to the campaign calling on Fingal County Council to invest in pedestrian and road safety measures.

The petition was presented by a delegation from Donabate Portrane Community Council at the council offices and is being sent to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Residents are calling for a ban on HGVs and other heavy construction traffic at school opening and closing times to be enforced on the peninsula.

They also want narrow footpaths outside the primary schools on the Portrane Road upgraded urgently and the walkway through The Paddocks reinstated.

Last month Supporting Proper Development Donabate (SPDD) held a peaceful protest on the Portrane Road to mark a year since the right of way closed.

The organisation last week welcomed news that the walkway at Rahillion connecting the girls’ primary and boys’ primary schools would reopen during school hours.

The comments section of the petition reflects residents’ frustration with statements such as “Disgraceful situation been tolerated far too long. Residents of Donabate have been let down by those with the power to help.”

This is a reference to the narrowness of the footpaths from Carr’s Mill to St Patrick’s NS and Scoil Phadraig Cailini, which has been repeatedly highlighted by the Donabate Portrane Community Council.

Another parent commented: “The roads are narrow with poor visibility, the footpaths are narrow or non-existent. There is no margin for error and there has been flagrant flouting of planning permission requirements by some HGV drivers.”

Others angrily commented that no action will be taken until a child is either hurt or killed. Last year one concerned resident reported the situation to the Road Safety Authority.

Huge amounts of construction activity in Donabate, which has narrow roads and restricted footpaths, have led to high volumes of 12-wheel vehicles entering and exiting the area.

A parent wrote: “I’ve seen children in the village at lunchtimes with trucks rumbling through way too fast, fully loaded trucks travelling at the road speed limit, through the village.

“It’s fortunate there has not been an accident to date. I hold a Class II HGV licence and am against these vehicles and larger, travelling over the station bridge and through the village.

“Existing roads and footpaths are too narrow, resulting in close passes with pedestrians.”

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