Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) told Midwest News today that it is not the authority that imposes speed limits rather it’s the local authority that has that power in legislation.
It comes ahead of a public protest on Sunday next in Balla to highlight local residents concerns about the speed limits at the Ardboley junction in the town, the scene of numerous accidents.
Elected members of Castlebar Municipal District have stated their support for the local residents planned action and a number of councillors pledged to join the protesters in the demonstration.
At the Julymeeting of Castlebar Municipal District, council official John McHale read a response from TII to the authority after councillors had asked for representative of TII to meet Balla residents and local councillors about their concerns at the Ardboley Junction - the scene of numerous accidents.
The response from the TII indicated that no meeting would take place as it did not have time or resources to attend such gatherings.
At that point cllrs condemned the TII, Fianna Fail councillor councillor Blackie Gavin ripped up the copy of the TII letter and said it was insulting to cllrs and the people of Balla.
Other cllrs made similar comments and overall the cllrs pledged their support for the protest action planned at Ardboley Junction on Sunday next.
Today Midwest News rang the TII and spoke to Sean O’Neill Director of Corporate communications for the TII.
We asked him if TII would comment on the Ardboley Junction saga – and his response was “no”.
However, Mr O’Neill went on to explain that TII work in partnership with the local authority, but its Mayo county council that are legally charged with imposing the speed limits in the county.
He described TII as “consultees” – giving “engineering expertise and opinion” on any proposal from the local authority to it.
But again he stressed the legal requirement for any speed limit rests with the local authority working with the gardai and that the TII are asked for their engineering expertise.
Midwest News then asked Mr O’Neill the direct question could Mayo County Council decide to reduce the speed limit at Ardboley in opposition to TII advice? His response was “yes”.
But of course, the power of the local authority is technically very limited – because should it decide to ignnore TII advice and reduce the speed limit at Ardboley Junction and that decision later impacts on another accident than Mayo county Council is liable for the consequences and that’s a high a gamble if the engineering advise from the experts was not to make the change.
Nonetheless, elected cllrs may well be on the demonstration line on Sunday in Balla - when in fact the ultimate decision on a speed limit legally is in the hands of Mayo county council.