Donegal construction company applies for planning retention

'Save our Rodán' campaign concerned about pedestrian safety

Save Our Rodán

Carndonagh's 'Save our Rodán' campaign concerned about pedestrian safety

The construction company responsible for a housing development at Ballyloskey in Carndonagh has applied for retention planning permission for an entrance onto the Circular Road and all associated site-works.

George Doherty Construction (IRL) submitted the application to Donegal County Council on December 18, 2020 and a decision is due on the matter on February 20, 2021.

According to the application's supporting documentation, the entrance onto Circular Road is to provide access to a temporary construction compound associated with the adjoining housing development, granted permission under planning reference number 19/51640. It is also supported by Mr Raymond Doherty, the registered owner of the lands.

The entrance onto Circular Road is opposed by the Save Our Rodán Campaign.

In a statement to Donegal Live, Sinéad Smyth, a member of the campaign, said after several weeks of zoom meetings and talks with council representatives from three political parties, the future of the 200-year-old Rodán was “on its way to becoming secure”.

Ms Smyth added: “It has taken time and energy to come to a respectful, shared vision and there is still some way to go, however the group are being fully supported by Donegal County Council Representatives in their goals to preserve and protect this piece of shared community history. Local demand for the preservation of the lane-way, known as ‘Lover’s Lane’ was evident after an online petition to protect it raised over 600 signatures in less than two weeks.

“The three councillors meeting with the Save Our Rodán Group: Albert Doherty, Martin McDermott and Bernard McGuinness, have all shared their concerns and support for the preservation of the ‘Lovers Lane’ Rodán in Carndonagh. The verbal proposal of future responsibility, care and maintenance for the Rodán to be attended to by the Department of Community and Enterprise was greatly welcomed by the group, which means the Rodán could be retained in it’s original condition and remain part of our shared community history in the area.

“The group continues to seek written confirmation of this proposal. However, the group is aware the Planning division within Donegal County Council has initiated Planning Enforcement action regarding aspects of this construction development and as such Community Development and Planning Directorate 'cannot comment on this matter at present'.

The 'Save Our Rodán' Group is hopeful that the Council will step up to the requests and needs of the local community to protect and preserve this historic landmark, as verbally agreed,” said Sinéad Smyth.

Local resident Caitriona McElhinney, an avid walker said: “I have walked this pathway for 45 years, and since the closure of the pathway I no longer feel safe walking this route as the road is too dangerous for walking and now has the added danger of an illegal construction site entrance.

“I am extremely upset at the damage that has been done to the Rodán and the holy well. Childhood memories of school nature walks, walks to the town and Mary Gill's shop have been ruined.”

According to Sinéad Smyth, there was a commitment by the contractor, “after realisation of its importance to the community, to stop further damage to the Rodán and to restore the lane-way to it’s original condition”.

She added: “This came through a public statement to Highland Radio in December past.

“Berries from the edge of the lane-way have been collected by another community initiative, ‘Forest of Carndonagh’, whose aim is to promote native tree growing and planting in and around the town. It has successfully planted several hundred trees around local primary schools this planting season. 'Forest of Carndonagh' plans to grow hawthorn trees to replace those removed from the lane-way from related seed, which means the newly planted trees will have a genetic link to the surrounding trees and the lane-way can retain its historic integrity.

“However, the issue of safety for pedestrians along the road section between Ballyloskey Bridge and the Derry Road remains a serious cause for concern. This section of road has always been unpleasant and dangerous to walk along and the Rodán has been a safe alternative for generations of the Carndonagh Community.

“As well as the loss of this safer alternative, the risks and dangers to pedestrians, which have always been a feature of this road have now been substantially increased as a consequence of the opening of the new access point into the development site. Concerns regarding pedestrian safety have been raised repeatedly with council officials and local councillors, but to date no action has been taken to address this specific issue. Whilst some additional road signs have been installed, these do not appear to be in response to concerns around pedestrian safety,” said Sinéad Smyth.

Jeremy Smith, a local resident and spokesperson for member of the ‘Save Our Rodán’ group said: “We are continuing to seek clarity on this issue, and in particular the findings of any safety audits or risk assessments by Donegal County Council in respect of pedestrian safety.

“We would also ask that Donegal County Council confirm that appropriate actions and measures have been taken as a result, to ensure that the safety of the community takes priority.”

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