Light of hope for neglected Ballingarry
With its broken footpaths, derelict buildings and obsolete public lighting, Ballingarry has been deemed by residents to be one of the most neglected villages in north Tipperary.
Residents lives have also been put in danger by speeding motorists who ignore the speed limit signs on the two approaches to the village on the main N52 Nenagh-Dundalk route.
But now Tipperary County Council says it aims to address most of the problems - if it can persuade the national roads authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to fund vital works to provide new footpaths and create a modern traffic calming scheme to tackle the speedsters.
A council delegation is due to meet with officials of the TII on December 13 to discuss what the local authority sees as priority projects in the Nenagh District. Councillors attending the November meeting of the Nenagh Municipal District authority were informed that Ballingarry would be one of the top items on the agenda at that meeting.
The plight of residents was raised by Cllr Michael O’ Meara, who said that Ballingarry was the most neglected village along the entire route of the N52, which stretched form Nenagh to Ardee in County Louth. He said the hands of the council were somewhat tied in improving the village by the fact that much of the funding for the necessary works would have to be approved by the TII.
Referring to the upcoming meeting, Cllr O’ Meara said: “I think Ballingarry has to be put on the top of the list for discussion. The Tidy Towns committee out there are extremely frustrated. To the TII, Ballingarry is only a dot on the map but to the people there it is their home and it’s incredibly unfair that the village has been neglected for years. It’s absolutely deplorable what is happening.”
He said he and the council Cathaoirleach Ger Darcy had been calling for improvements in the village for years. Great works had been done to upgrtade other villages in the Nenagh district and traffic calming measures put in place. “I think something similar now has to be done in Ballingarry.”
Cllr Darcy said he had put a motion down a number of years ago calling for modern LED lights to be installed to replace the obsolete and very poor street lighting. In one area of the village there were no lights at all for a stretch of up to 100 metres; the situation was extremely hazardous. The village badly needed a modern traffic calming scheme and new footpaths.
On winter nights the village was “extremely dark” in an area stretching from the Glue Pot pub to the local housing estate. “The risks posed to people walking that stretch at night - it’s just dynamite.”
Cllr Darcy said he aimed to press the case for Ballingarry at the meeting with the TII. “The work has to be done because the village has fallen behind other villages in the district. This work is a priority.”
Cllr Joe Hannigan said there seemed to be differing views expressed by the council and the TII on who exactly was responsible for the necessary works. The roles of each authority in relation to the works needed to be defined.
Council Director Marcus O’ Connor said it was the council’s intention to upgrade the public lighting in the village next year as part of its programme to replace old lighting across the county with more energy efficient LED lighting.
He agreed that the footpaths were in a poor condition and that a proper traffic calming system was needed. The council would be making its case known to the TII on those issues at the meeting in December.
“Ballingarry will be one of the main items on the list,” said Mr O’ Connor.