Parents of children attending Ferrybank boys’ national school fear a fatal accident could occur unless they get a warden/‘lollypop person’ as a matter of urgency.
Fintan Byrne, who has a son in the school, says pupils’ safety is being put at increasing risk due to traffic volumes and haphazard parking on the New Ross Road.
The school near Belmont has seen substantial growth in numbers since 2000 with around a 30% increase in enrolments over that period.
The entrance and exit are three yards from the main N25 “and between parents parking illegally and heavy traffic at most times of the day, there have been a number of near-misses with kids crossing the road to the Abbeylands side,” he says. “I would not like to see a child hurt waiting for this issue to resolved.”
Extreme anger was expressed at the association’s most recent meeting at the lack of urgency shown by the authority responsible for road safety, Waterford City Council, and that the situation has been left to parents to sort out.
Fintan, who is chairperson of the school’s Parents’ Association, says some 5/6/7-year-olds are attempting to cross in between cars and doing “a chicken run” – darting to get through traffic without guidance to and from school and the sports pitches on the opposite side of the road.
This isn’t a new problem by any means, with a safety study carried out in 2001/’02 and correspondence stretching back over a long period.
However, Fintan is adamant that “this is where the talking stops and protests begin.”
He contrasts their treatment with that of schools in Waterford City, who have eight school wardens in place.
“The parents feel it would possibly be better to see the boundary stretched backwards, and then we may see good road safety measures put in place by Kilkenny County Council,” he suggests.
Calling for the immediate installation of a safe crossing point, Fintan warns that if no action is taken protests, which started last Wednesday week, will be escalated, involving traffic hold-ups on the road and other co-ordinated demonstrations – including marches to the City Manager’s office if necessary.
“Be in no doubt that parents are annoyed that, due to boundary issues in the past, inaction seems to be the course followed by Waterford City Council who have control of this area of Ferrybank.
The Council should remember that they have a Duty of Care in road safety matters to every parent and child in this regard,” he concluded.