The proposal, which is expected to be put to councillors at a meeting of Roscommon County Council in either December or January, would see the current 60km per hour limit between Keane’s Centra and the local graveyard increased to 80km per hour.
It is part of a wider plan to reduce the speed limit on the route between Athleague and Mount Talbot from 100km per hour to 80km per hour as per Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s National Roads Speed Limit Review.
Local businessman Bernard Keane said people in Athleague are vehemently opposed to such a move.
“I’ve spoken to a number of councillors locally and we are all on the same wavelength. This only broke on Wednesday morning but local people are annoyed,” he said.
“It’s crazy, it makes absolutely no sense. We have been looking for a footpath up to the graveyard for years because it’s dangerous walking that road as it is without cars travelling at 80km per hour – especially on days of big funerals”.
A post on the Athleague Tidy Towns Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon (yesterday) described the proposal as “absolute madness”.
“It has come to our attention that there is a proposal before our councillors to change the 60km speed limit from the graveyard to just before Centra to an 80km limit. This flies in the face of all logic. As a very busy road bringing 3,500 cars, tractors and lorries through the village on a daily basis, they now propose to bring them hurtling down that hill towards a major junction at 80km per hour.
“The people of Athleague cannot allow this and are calling for the support of our councillors and the general public to oppose this madness”.
Local councillor Laurence Fallon said that while he is in favour of a speed limit reduction on the Athleague to Mount Talbot route, he would oppose a move to increase the current 60km limit between the village and the graveyard.
“While I support the wider concept of reducing the speed limit on the road towards Mount Talbot, I, like many of my colleagues, would not be in favour of increasing the speed limit coming down the hill towards Athleague,” he said.
“While it would require an agreement with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, I would hope that there could be a compromise whereby the current speed limit is maintained beyond the graveyard and the new 80km per hour limit is introduced from there.
“I cannot see it as acceptable to increase the speed coming into Athleague. It is a thriving employment town with Kepak and Aurivo and as such large lorries and other traffic use this route on a daily basis”.
Councillor Emer Kelly said she too would be strongly against any speed increase in the current 60km zone.
“I had previously introduced a motion regarding the speed of traffic through Athleague village. Traffic is already at a higher speed coming down the hill towards the village. I know that local people are frustrated and angry with this proposal and I agree with them completely,” she said.
Responding to enquiries from the Roscommon People, Roscommon County Council stated: “The matter was discussed at a meeting of the Roscommon Municipal District on Tuesday as part of the National Roads Speed Limit Review.
“It is a matter for the members to adopt at either the December or January plenary meeting and is the result of an extended review process that included public consultation.
“The staff of Roscommon County Council are working with the elected members and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to formulate an agreed set of Speed Limit Bye Laws for our National Road Network”.