CONSULTATIONS with landowners in the vicinity of a national school on the outskirts of Killarney are to take place in an attempt to secure a parcel of land suitable for a car park to improve safety for children and their parents on their way to and from school.
Concerns were voiced about safety issues at Knockanes National School at a meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council where principal, Lucy O’Sullivan, and board of management member Leonard Moran highlighted the issues in an online deputation.
Ms O’Sullivan said road safety was a big issue at the 65-pupil school where there are 12 staff but only seven parking spaces and one disabled bay are available.
Staff are forced to park outside private houses at the side of the road and parents dropping off or collecting their children have no option but to stop in the middle of the road and hold up traffic.
The entrance to a busy farmyard is directly opposite the school and that adds to the concerns, she said.
Leonard Moran said the problems are being compounded by the fact that large delivery trucks are using the road by the school as a cut-through from the Barraduff side and that increased the risk posed to children, their parents and staff.
Cllr Niall Kelleher, who arranged the deputation and who lives in the area, said the area around the school is very built up and to create a set-down area could prove very costly.
“The essential thing here is that we must protect the lives and the safety of the young people who go to the school and their parents. Councillors have pledged to donate some of their allocations to solve the problems but the department must take responsibility,” he said.
Killarney Municipal District Engineer, John Ahern, said several interventions have been made by the council in the vicinity of Knockanes National School, including introducing a 50km zone and flashing speed indicator signs but the ultimate solution has to be to identify a car parking area within walking distance of the school.
“We have to find suitable land and we have to find funding,” he said.
Mr Ahern said Kerry County Council has appointed a safe school liaison officer who is available to assist and the council will consult with landowners in the area.
“A piece of land will have to be acquired – it’s the only solution,” he said.