Thursday evening’s public meeting about traffic management plans for the top of the town had an air of days long gone about it.
It was an open air affair on the grounds of Castleisland Rugby Club in the ancient Crageens.
The people who attended gathered in a circle from the starting point of 7pm and the various speakers stepped into the centre and wheeled around as they spoke.
It was all about Kerry County Council’s proposals to disfigure the face of the top of the town to degrees beyond what’s manageable, recognisable or usable. Proposals that would cripple the traffic flow throughout the entire town – according to locals.
The Parking of School Buses
It was all about the proposals for parking of school buses on that area of Upper Main Street, an area of town which has become increasingly busy in very recent years due to road improvements in the Cordal area. This in turn has provided the workforce from this side of the county with a faster route to their jobs in Munster Joinery.
The consensus was that the council’s plans simply won’t do or suit the Castleisland we all know and care about today.
All Off the One Page
The meeting was opened by local neighbours’ representatives, John Lyons and Jackie Brosnan.
The four local elected representatives: Cllr. Charlie Farrelly, Cllr. Bobby O’Connell, Cllr, Fionnán Fitzgerald and Cllr. Jackie Healy Rae spoke off the one page as they told the people there to get their submissions written and sent to the Email or postal address – at the end of this page – as soon as possible.
The more submissions made and sent to Kerry County Council the more it strengthens the hands of the councillors when it comes down to a vote on the issue.
A Chink of Light
There was a chink of light in the course of the evening as Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald said he believed that the council and its agents are listening to the voice of the people who are opposed to their plans – and that voice is getting stronger as close to 70 people of all ages came to the meeting.
Cllr. Fitzgerald urged the people in the locality to get behind their elected representatives by filling in and sending in their submissions in opposition to the plans as they stand.
Listen and Learn
Cllr. Jackie Healy Rae said that he came to Castleisland to listen and to learn on this occasion so that he is in a position to properly represent the people of the area when the time comes to vote on the proposals.
Money to be Spent Here
Cllr. Bobby O’Connell said that there are many other town and villages in the county that would be glad to have the problems we have here.
Cllr. O’Connell said there is a lot of money to be spent here and he hopes a solution can be found soon that the residents and the council can agree on.
Cllr. Farrelly’s Phone Hopping
Cllr. Charlie Farrelly said that for the two years he has been an elected representative his phone has never been as active as it has been since this row blew up in recent weeks.
He also underlined the importance of the voice of the people and ended his cúpla focal with a clarion call: Submissions, Submissions, Submissions as he beat a fist into the palm of his hand in emphasis and in perfect time.
The Ones With the Power
Michael Healy Rae, TD was a surprise and welcome speaker and, as he stepped into the circle, he opened by telling the people around him that they were ably and well represented at council level by the four previous speakers – which included his son Jackie.
He told the people to remember that they are the ones with the real power in this situation and that the decision makers would have to listen to them.
Money Didn’t Fall From the Sky
“Remember that the money they’re proposing to spend on this project didn’t fall out of the sky. “That’s your money and ye have every right to have a say on how it’s spent. But make sure it’s spent here by making the submissions and making your voices heard,” said Deputy Healy Rae.
The elected representatives all agreed that the time constraints put on the receipt of submissions may be too tight for a variety of reasons and the summer holiday period was a big consideration.
Not a Single Issue Conversation
You could go away now thinking that this was a single issue conversation. It isn’t. There were people who brought up the chaos on College Road during those crucial school hours and Gaelscoil Aogáin came in for specific mention in group chats after the official business of the evening was concluded.
Bumpers Inspired Driving and Parking
The fact that Castleisland is one, if not the only, town in Kerry without a full-time traffic warden also got an airing.
There wasn’t much call for traffic wardens in any town anywhere for the past year and a half.
However, there’s a feeling that lawlessness and our infamous bumpers inspired approach to driving and parking in town is breaking out all over again – and with abandon.
Remember the Bumpers ?
Do you remember when your time was up in the bumpers at the bazaars, you jumped out of it and left it where it stopped? We learned well and there are still traces of those traits in us here.
In fact I saw a man jump out of a long jeep on the street in front of the archway beside the town centre Centra shop yesterday afternoon.
Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald put the requested delay in the deadline for submissions to Kerry County Council for its consideration on Friday morning and got a most accommodating reply from the Director of Services, John Breen.
Cllr. Fitzgerald’s Reply from KCC
In his reply, Mr. Breen agreed that it is important that sufficient time is allocated to ensure all can collectively arrive at a proposal that is acceptable to all and can be agreed by the members.
“We are conscious of the public consultation process during the summer months and as the period advertised is the minimum required I see no issue with extending the public consultation period for a further period of two weeks to 5pm on Monday 20th September as requested,” said Mr. Breen.
Submissions should be sent to: Section 38-Main Street, Administrative Officer, Roads, Transportation and Marine Department, Kerry County Council, Áras an Chontae, Rathass, Tralee, Co. Kerry. or by Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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