Parents concerned over school safety in Newbridge

Newbridge parents are worried about the safety of schoolkids attending St Patrick’s National School because of the state of the roads in the area.

Newbridge parents are worried about the safety of schoolkids attending St Patrick’s National School because of the state of the roads in the area.

A public meeting took place at the school on Wednesday, May 30, which was attended by TDs Martin Heydon and Sean O’Fearghail, Newbridge Mayor Damian Molyneaux, Kildare Mayor Michael Spike Nolan and councillors Mick Deely and Suzanne Doyle. It was also attended by local residents from the Allenview Heights, Morristown, Cedarwood and Watercress Manor estates who are also worried about traffic safety in the area.

Parents won’t let their children walk to St Patrick’s because of the speed of vehicles travelling along the adjoining road, the meeting heard. The footpath which serves the school is only 27 inches wide in place.

230 children attend the school, but only 56 pupils walk - a number which the parents believe could be increased if the route was safer.

Mum Meredith Heneghan from Allenview Heights has galvanised parents on the traffic issues at the Church of Ireland school.

She said that, although Kildare County Council has said there is no funding for large-scale road safety works at the school, those at the meeting had a “really useful discussion” about the issue.

Parents are now pushing for Kildare County Council to apply for funding under the ‘Safer Routes to School’ programme in September for some safety improvements at the school. A request was also made to the County Engineer and the Kildare Road Safety officer to attend a meeting with the school’s committee.

The group last Thursday carried out an informal traffic survey between 8.15am and 9am, and found that 400 cars used the route in that time. Ms Heneghan indicated that on a normal day this volume would be much higher, as the nearby Scoil Mhuire was being used as a referendum polling station that day.

Ms Heneghan said that the only concession to safety at the school in its 40-year existence was the installation of a speed ramp on the road outside in 2003.

“My daughter [Ellen] is in senior infants and we have been walking for two years now to school. I have become increasingly frustrated with the situation,” said Ms Heneghan, who said she was angry and frustrated with how Kildare County Council has dealt with the issue. “We all understand about austerity measures, but when it comes to safety, I don’t feel that austerity should apply. When it comes to the safety of schoolchildren, it should not be an issue of budget.”