SINN Féin councillor for Magherafelt, Peter Bateson, has welcomed a letter of support from Magherafelt District Council to Roads Service for the extension of the speed restriction past the O’Donovan Rossa Gaelic Football Club on the Castledawson Road. The decision to submit the letter was approved with cross party support, following a proposal by Cllr Bateson at last week’s council meeting.
Speaking after the proposal was approved, Cllr. Bateson commented: “This is, of course, to be welcomed and I had no doubt that the proposal would be supported as it is obvious that there is a need for the speed restriction to be extended past the club. The fact that such a proposal and letter was necessary only highlights the underlying problem; which is that the current criteria employed by Roads Service are totally inadequate.
“They base it primarily on the amount of access points on to the given stretch of road and make no allowance for the likes of sporting clubs. I think it important that Roads Service recognise the importance of these clubs to the communities to which they belong and acknowledge that the they play a central role in the lives of the local people and as such are a hub of activity.
“This is a problem for clubs all over The North and I would call on Roads Service to look at this serious oversight and take the sensible steps to amend it. While GAA clubs, many of which are based outside towns, are the most obvious example, it is also an issue for soccer and rugby clubs and others, I am sure. These clubs are used by hundreds of people every day of the week with all ages from the very young to senior participants and spectators coming and going at anytime of the day or night. During matches you can see cars parked along these roads and people walking to and from the pitch and getting in and out of cars where currently there is no speed restriction, this is obviously and unnecessarily a very dangerous situation.”