West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Inadequate response to safety issues at 'the Gap'

Published: 17 July, 2012

Sinn Féin has said there is an inadequate response from DRD Roads Service to a major safety issue on the Drumnakilly Road, just outside Carrickmore in Mid Tyrone. The area, referred to locally as 'The Gap' has, according to figures provided by the Department of Health, had 11 emergency call outs as a result of Road Traffic Collisions in the past three years.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald and MLA Barry McElduff have voiced their concerns regarding major safety issues on the road following the recurrence of accidents at the spot in recent years.

Speaking on the issue Carrickmore Councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald said:

"I had sought this information through a Ministerial Question tabled by my colleague Barry McElduff MLA as the statistics provided to me by the PSNI indicated that only a small number of accidents had occurred at 'the Gap'. The figures provided by the Health Minister have proved, that in fact, this number is much higher. The figures revealed that there have been five emergency responses to the area in the year 2009/10, a further four in the year 2010/11 and so far in 2011/12 there have been two. A total of eleven emergency responses in a three year period clearly indicates that this particular area is a hot spot for Road Traffic Collisions.

"Certainly these figures would support the locally held view that a disproportionate number of traffic accidents are taking place at this spot. Furthermore, the figures only indicate the number of emergency responses from the Ambulance Service, where someone has required medical assistance, so the figure could yet again be higher if medical assistance wasn't sought.

"It is my understanding the Roads Service rely on information provided by the PSNI to assess the need for improvements to the road layout; however the information I received from the PSNI detailing the figures of traffic collisions on this spot was much lower than was detailed by the Department of Health. Due to this discrepancy this section of the Drumnakilly Road would not rate as a high priority for road safety improvements according to Roads Service.

"Having met onsite with senior Roads Service officials I am concerned that if considerable safety measures are not undertaken the situation could get worse. It is clear that this particular area of the Drumnakilly Road requires an adequate response from Roads Service to address the major safety concerns there is by local residents and road users.

Supporting Councillor Fitzgerald was local Sinn Féin Assembly Member Barry McElduff:

"Following concerns raised, I tabled a question to the Minister of Health, Edwin Poots to detail the number of calls the Ambulance Service responded to at The Gap. The figures suggest that there is a need for not only PSNI records to be taken into account but also those of the Emergency Services including the Ambulance Service. DRD Roads Service rely on figures from the PSNI to reassess dangerous sections of roads which in turn determines which road needs urgent remedial action.

"I intend to write to the Minister for Regional Development, who has responsibility for roads , to request that Roads Service should also take into account information held by our Emergency Services on the number of accidents attend to in order to assess the need for major road safety concerns to be addressed.