Offaly residents fume over illegal mass time parking

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly residents fume over illegal mass time parking

Offaly residents fume over illegal mass time parking

A number of residents in Edenderry have expressed their anger at the issue of illegal parking on St. Mary's Road, adjacent to the church, particularly during mass times.

One such resident told the Offaly Express this week that they encountered two vehicles parked on the footpath that joins the entrance to the Cedar Lawns housing estate and the entrance to the cemetery, a matter of yards from Edenderry Garda Station.

The woman in question was walking with a pram from the Cedar Lawns estate, which also provides pedestrian access to the Sycamores housing estate. 

PICTURED: The area in which the two vehicles were illegally parked on Sunday

"I wanted to continue on the footpath down towards the town but was completely blocked by these two vehicles," the woman told us. The incident occurred while 11.30am mass was taking place in St. Mary's Church, adjacent to the local cemetery on Sunday last, October 14.

A woman walking with her grandchild in a pram emerged from the new Cedar Lawns pedestrian entrance but could not get by on the path as they attempted to head down St. Mary's Road towards the town. 

With no footpath between the Garda Station and Sweeney's Filling Station, the woman had to put herself in danger by either crossing the road while her view was obstructed by the illegally parked cars or walking onto the road to get around them and remain on the cemetery side of the road. 

"The sun was very strong and I was afraid people wouldn't be able to see me," the woman said. "It was extremely dangerous and it is actually disgraceful that drivers are doing this. There is a carpark at the cemetery, and as I passed, I could see there was ample parking available there."

A passing motorist eventually noticed the woman and stopped to let her pass the offending vehicles and continue on her way. 

Speaking to the Offaly Express in response to the above photographs of the incident, a number of local councillors expressed serious concern and disappointment with the situation. 

Cllr Noel Cribbin said, "Indeed, parking at masses and funerals is causing problems both for those out walking and to the residents in Cedar Lawns and I would appeal to motorists to think before they park and to consider others that use the public roads and paths. There is a large car park at the cemetery, so please consider using it instead of parking on the footpaths."

Cllr Martin O'Reilly told us that he has seen this situation first hand and "can see the issue for road users, people using the path and general mass goers."

"I would appeal to people to use the large carpark at the graveyard. This has plenty of room for most, if not all cars attending Mass or various religious events. If people do have elderly or infirm people travelling with them, I can't see an issue with drivers stopping at the church gates or into the church grounds itself, to let the person out and then parking the car across the road," he added.

Cllr O'Reilly continued: "I am aware of the absence of a pedestrian crossing at the church, which in my opinion would have been a very suitable place to establish one, as opposed to the cluster we have closer to the Town Square. This is something that Offaly County Council in conjunction with the Roads Department and Road Safety Authority should look further into as part of addressing this road safety issue."

Cllr Noel Bourke said he "would implore people to desist from parking on footpaths anywhere, but particularly near the Church at the time of Church Ceremonies or near schools."

"Parking on footpaths in these locations creates a dangerous situation for children and could lead to accidents and maybe serious injuries. In addition to children, such parking also makes life difficult for wheelchair users and people with mobility or disability problems as well as elderly people," Bourke added.

Cllr John Foley told the Offaly Express that this particular issue in the same spot has been highlighted with him before by a resident of Cedar Lawns.

"I subsequently brought it to the attention of the local engineer with a view to having bollards erected at the entrance to Cedar Lawns to stop this illegal parking as the double yellow lines are clearly not working," he remarked.

"Motorists should know from their 'rules of the road' that parking on double yellow lines is illegal, as is parking on footpaths," he concluded.