13 October 2023

~2 minutes read

Meeting suspended as blazing row erupts over Oughterard traffic lights

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Meeting suspended as blazing row erupts over Oughterard traffic lights

A meeting of Connemara councillors had to be suspended today after a blazing row broke out over planned traffic lights at Oughterard Bridge

The plans have proved controversial, with over 1 thousand submissions against the plans lodged at County Hall last month.

There is more or less universal agreement that a long-sought pedestrian footbridge is the best solution to safety issues at the bridge.

So why the traffic lights?

It’s because the bridge is still at least “two or three years away” according to council officials – and that’s assuming there are no challenges or objections.

The traffic lights are an interim measure to allow pedestrians to cross safely – particularly school children during chaotic school drop-off and pick-up times.

But several councillors today said the residents of Oughterard have no confidence whatsoever in that plan.

Then a blazing row broke out between Councillor Seamus Walsh and Councillor Tom Welby.

Councillor Walsh was accused of being contradictory over his position on the lights, prompting him to ask if he was before a “Kangaroo Court”.

Councillor Welby claimed he was simply pointing out facts, but Councillor Walsh dismissed his statements as an “infantile attack”.

In the end the meeting had to be suspended for a time as both men continued to shout at one another despite demands by Cathaoirleach Noel Thomas.

But a council engineer said he firmly believes that if the lights are installed and given time to work, they will be of benefit to the entire community

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