Call for safety measures outside Fossa National School

A serious or even fatal accident is inevitable unless urgent safety measures are put in place – concerned parents and staff at one Killarney school said this week.
Up to 300 pupils and their parents are regularly taking their life in their hands at drop off and pick up times as they negotiate crossing the busy N72 Killarney to Killorglin road to get to Fossa National School. They are now calling on Kerry County Council to act quickly and put safety measures – such as pedestrian crossing – in place.
The issue has been ongoing for years, principal Pat Clifford explained to the Killarney Advertiser this week.
“We’re highlighting this for a long time,” he said.
“One pedestrian crossing would suffice.
“You’re just watching there in the morning with your heart in your mouth because there are young children from the age of four onwards, and children with special needs, crossing the road. I just think the children are in danger and we’re going to keep at it until some issue occurs unfortunately – that may then force this type of facility to be put in place – but it’s too late to do it then.”
He said that he’s listening to the parent’s safety concerns every day.
“They’re saying it is a nightmare in the morning. There are busses, there are trucks, it’s a very busy road particularly during months from April to October – as there’s a huge volume of traffic there. They have no place to park – only across the other side of the road.”
The school population currently stands at 270, he explained. However, when there was half that number they had a lollypop lady at the school.
“When there was half, about 135 pupils, we had a dedicated lollypop person who used to help children across the road. Why that’s gone – I think the issue is other schools were in an old scheme, like Lissivigeen and other places, and unfortunately as we’re not in that scheme that they don’t allow that now. It’s unfair to the children and it’s certainly compromising their safety.”
Cllr. Maura Healy-Rae, who raised the issue at Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting, said that it is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately before a serious or even fatal accident occurs.
“It is a national road and there’s huge traffic coming into the town to Liebherr, the town itself, the caravan park, hotels and there’s a church there too,” she said.
“It’s a highly populated area. If you’re a young person trying to navigate the road it’s dangerous. A pedestrian crossing is definitely needed – that would mean that they’re crossing at the same point and not at different sections of the road.
“I’m amazed there hasn’t been an accident to date. They’re wide open and exposed here.”
Kerry County Council replied that they have carried out a Pedestrian Survey at this location and that it indicated that a pedestrian crossing was “not generally justified”.
However Kerry County Council said that it will work with the school and its Board of Management to ensure, as reasonably practical, the safety of all road users at this location.