ELECTION - Traffic delays key issue in Sallins’ doorsteps

If Fergus Carpenter is the feeling the full force of the anti-Labour sentiment that we’ve been reading about in the opinion polls he’s not saying so.

If Fergus Carpenter is the feeling the full force of the anti-Labour sentiment that we’ve been reading about in the opinion polls he’s not saying so.

In fact as he canvassed support as a Labour Party candidate in Sallins last week (a snapshot, admittedly) there was hardly a cross word heard.

The Dublin-based primary school teacher has been Sallinsified.

Carpenter has lived in the village for the past 11 years with his family and is more familiar with its problems.

Much of the development in Sallins, described by him as a culture of “build, build and ask questions later”, has taken place under Fianna Fail administrations.

It’s left Sallins with plenty of houses and a top class rail service but crowded sports clubs, interminable traffic congestion and not enough amenities or even green space.

He says the canvassing has gone well.

“I’d say I’ve had to walk away from only 5 people I’ve met,” he said last week.

He doesn’t want to be defined as a Sallins candidate and obviously is keen to get support from wherever he can but he’ll be seen as such because the other two Labour candidates are Naas-based - Anne Breen and Ger Dunne.

Paddy McNamara, the outgoing Labour councillor in Sallins was a significant vote getter and the likely beneficiaries of his retirement are Carpenter and FF’s James Lawless, another Sallins resident.

Carpenter has taken issue with a statement from Lawless which claimed that the taking in charge of estates has been obstructed by the legislation which brought Irish Water into being.

Minister of Housing Jan O’Sullivan states that local authorities should continue with the taking in charge process but engage with Irish Water about water and sewage services.

“There is no legal impediment to the taking in charge of water services infrastructure by local authorities,” Ms. O’Sullivan says.

“Most people are not really raising national issues, they seem to be more concerned with local problems.”

And he’s familiar with these. His visit to the 140 house Oldbridge estate saw several residents complain about the dangerous exit on to the Naas-Sallins Road.

“Residents leaving the estate are met with traffic coming in 3 directions; from Sallins, Naas and vehicles turning into the estate itself. It’s become easier for people going to Naas to turn left instead, then turn right into the Waterways development and come out again.

“A new exit is needed and because the developer has resumed building houses here it should be possible to develop a new exit from the estate further down towards the village,” he said.

Before he visited the estate last week accompanied by party activist Ann Ruane from Maynooth, he leafleted homes in the estate outlining this possibility.

A number of residents don’t respond when he rings the door bell but those who do are receptive.

“You definitely have my number one,” says Debbie Grimes.

Another resident, Averil White-Reid is frustrated at the delay in getting on to the road.

“It’s pretty horrendous; you can be waiting up to 10 minutes to exit,” she said.

He says a playground is necessary because there are 1,500 children in Sallins and he says he has approached three parties about making this happen, including a property developer.

“Work on the Sallins by-pass will start in 2016 but it wont finish in 2016. And this is not the only issue here.

“There are 400 children who will be going to second level school in Naas and they need to get there and home again in safety and this another reason why the Sallins Road upgrade needs to be planned and built thoughtfully.”