Residents want N20 junction reinstated

Residents want N20 junction reinstated
Protesters from the Waterloo/Whitechurch areas pictured outside County Hall where they sought the reopening of a junction on the main N20 (Cork-Mallow road) Picture: Jonathan Healy

CORK County Council has refused to reopen the Waterloo N20 junction despite councillors unanimously voting for it to be reinstated immediately.

Councillor Kevin Conway made a formal proposal to Cork County Council to secure the reopening of the junction with over a hundred local residents from Waterloo and Whitegate attending a protest at County Hall.

The local authority took the decision to close the junction - which has been the scene of numerous serious crashes in recent times including one which claimed the lives of two American tourists - in August.

Every councillor present (45) in the chamber voted to reopen the junction but County chief executive Tim Lucey said he is not in a position to do so.

Mike Crowley and Darren Twomey pictured outside County Hall where they sought the reopening of a junction on the main N20 (Cork-Mallow road) Picture: Jonathan Healy Newstalk
Mike Crowley and Darren Twomey pictured outside County Hall where they sought the reopening of a junction on the main N20 (Cork-Mallow road) Picture: Jonathan Healy Newstalk

He said there has been a high level of engagement with councillors and the closure is based on safety and engineering advice.

He added a report on the junction is being prepared and it will be delivered on October 26 and it will not be opened in advance.

The closure has seen Waterloo locals faced with 60km diversion via Blarney to drop kids at school in Whitechurch.

Senator Colm Burke said the implications for locals are multifold.

“If this junction stays closed the nearest school will then be deemed Blarney and Whitechurch will lose out in terms of provision of buses. That will have a knock on affect with the GAA club he said.

“There will have to be some element of traffic calming on the main road and many people might disagree with that but there is a community divided. We need to come to a solution that can provide a safe junction without dividing communities in the process.

Jonathan Healy, co-chair of the Waterloo Access Group, said: “We are at a loss to explain the behaviour of Cork County Council. Keeping the junction closed goes against the wishes of the residents, the councillors and even the Gardaí.

“The closure has dramatically increased the risk of accidents on neighbouring minor roads, not to mention the inconvenience for all involved. We want a safe solution to the problems at the junction, and we feel we are being bullied into accepting closure,” he added, Councillor Bob Ryan (FF) said the consultation process on the closure, which has now ended, was “farcical”, while Ted Lucey (FG) said the cost of extra travel and inconvenience is “stressful”.

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