by Pat Brosnan


Constant Danger on Roads


During the past week there was another sad story in the news about the death of a young child in the Murroe area of East Limerick in a tragic road accident. While we are not aware of the exact circumstances surrounding this tragedy we must however empathise as best we can with the stricken family and relatives of the victim of this accident. But unfortunately hearing of road accidents in different parts of the country almost every day has become so commonplace that apart from the families, relatives and near neighbours of the persons concerned people are no longer as shocked as much as they used to be in former times. But then of course in the old days when some of us were young road accidents were much less common than is the case these days.  Naturally of course this is not at all surprising as the density of traffic on the roads at the time could not in any way compare with the volume of vehicles that are now in evidence not alone on the motorways or the more major roads but even in the remote rural areas of the country.

While, of course, there was an occasional road accident during our younger days in which some people were fatally injured these mostly happened to people on bicycles, but we also remember some getting killed in falls from common cars or pony traps and side cars. A cousin of my own who was walking alongside his horse and cart on his way home from a nearby town was knocked down after being struck by a bicycle with a girl rider. We never really heard who was mostly at fault or if the accident could have been avoided.  Then again on one St Stephen’s night during the late ‘40’s a young man was on his way from Scartaglin on a bicycle to Jamesy Brosnan’s dancehall in Ballintouhig when his bicycle struck a bridge around a sharp turn in Gneeveguilla and apparently he was hurled over the wall into the river and killed. Tragedies such as these recounted were rare at the time and made big headlines in the County newspapers. On the wild and stormy St Stephen’s night of 1951 a local man in Knocknagoshel area on his way to a dance in Headley’s Bridge Hall was blown off his bicycle and killed.  But in these modern times when road accidents are a daily and regular occurrence there is no doubt that people have now come to accept the fact that these tragedies are a part of everyday life.

That certainly should not be something that could be considered inevitable as there are many precautions that can be put in place to avoid such things happening. But let us first of all make it quite clear that there are road accidents which are nobody’s fault and where there can be no blame attached to the drivers of these vehicles. However speed merchants who make a habit of driving too fast or in a dangerous manner without any consideration for other road users or even regardless of their own safety can become a menace and a danger to public safety, to themselves and to genuine careful drivers. The same applies to the so-called boy racers whether in cars or on motor bikes. It should be made quite clear by the forces of law and order in the country that public roads wherever these are situated are no place for such pranks and capers.  Those who take part in such practices need to be informed that they are neither smart nor “cool”, but that they are considered to be childish and immature and lacking in the qualities of ordinary civilised people.  Naturally the same yardstick applies to those who make a habit of drunken driving and who show the same disregard for other people. Likewise those who consistently use mobile phones when driving should also realise that this too can become a rather irresponsible habit which could land them in trouble if there is an accident.  But there is one area which in my opinion an exception ought to be made in the strict interpretation of the law regarding drink driving.  That is if farmers or other rural people after a hard day’s work in the bog or the meadow on a warm summer’s day drive into their local town or village for a couple of pints, they should not be harassed about it as these people are generally very careful drivers and would only crawl home and be in no danger to anybody. In such cases the Gardaí would surely be expected to use their good judgement and common sense and thereby earn the respect and admiration of careful drivers and the general public in their pursuit of reckless and dangerous speed merchants.  The public especially parents of young children should also be conscious and very much aware at all times of the many hazards on the roads because the death of even one child such as happened in Murroe during the past week is far too much and as already stated even though we have no knowledge of the circumstances of the tragedy we can all hope that the family concerned will find the peace and consolation that they deserve on the tragic loss of their loved one.


Congratulations to Seamus

Congratulations to Seamus Hunt, Newcastle West who recently received the Limerick Person of the Month Award. Seamus, who is probably best known as a famous traditional player of the pipes, has been a community activist in Newcastle West for the past 50 years. He was the Chairman of Newcastle West Community Council for the past 14 years up until this year and has dedicated much of his time to promoting and overseeing many local projects during all that time. The presentation of the Award took place at the Clarion Hotel. Seamus is a native of Ballyagran and his pipe playing has been a major factor in his life as he has been in demand at various functions, weddings and so forth. Best wishes to his wife Mary and their family.


Those Bins Again

According to recent reports Limerick County Council has issued a warning to householders in the County that they will be carrying out inspections to identify if people are in breach of new bylaws which are in force since January to dispense of their rubbish. However, it would appear just like the household charge that no relevant information has been made available to home owners. For instance how about those who transport their waste to Council dumps such as Gortadroma and pay the charges there. While we are all in favour of a clean environment my own opinion is that the Council is going the wrong way about it  by threats of fines and all this sort of thing instead of asking for the co-operation of all concerned.  While in former times people were able to dispose of rubbish by burning it in their back yards or gardens, this apparently is no longer allowed by the Council on the pretence that this would cause pollution and add to general global warming while everyone with a spark of common sense knows well that the fall-out on one day from a coal burning power station would be higher than if there was a rubbish burning bonfire every week in an Athea townland for 20 years. While our European masters are behind many of those stupid restrictions we cannot entirely blame them for the bye laws concerning this bin ban because it was our own elected Councillors who voted for these crazy restrictions. However people who live over 200 metres from a pick-up route will be exempted.