New Sligo road is a ‘game changer’ in terms of safety, campaigners say

N4 claimed 30 lives over three decades

At the official opening of the new €140 million N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Roads Project in county Sligo.  An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. accompanied by Cllr Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council met local children from Cloghogue National School, Castlebaldwin who won a Sligo County Council’s N4 Road Safety school competition. Harry White (5), Shannen Cassidy (8), Seán Cogan (10) and Rebecca McGarty-Lavin (11), Photo: James Connolly

At the official opening of the new €140 million N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Roads Project in county Sligo. An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. accompanied by Cllr Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council met local children from Cloghogue National School, Castlebaldwin who won a Sligo County Council’s N4 Road Safety school competition. Harry White (5), Shannen Cassidy (8), Seán Cogan (10) and Rebecca McGarty-Lavin (11), Photo: James Connolly

 

Locals who had campaigned for years for improvements to a stretch of the N4 Sligo road which claimed 30 lives over three decades were “in joyful mood” as the Taoiseach officially opened a €140m upgrade on Monday.

Mr Martin said the 15km stretch from Collooney to Castlebaldwin would enhance people’s quality of life by significantly improving road safety for local communities and for everyone travelling between Sligo and Dublin.

“The new road will also be a catalyst for sustainable regional growth and development, encouraging further investment and employment opportunities in Sligo and the north west,” he added.

Members of the N4 Action Group who attended the ceremony in Castlebaldwin said it was a momentous day but one to remember those whose lives were cut short on the road.

Harry White ( 5), Winner of art competition at the official opening of the new €140 million N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Roads Project in County Sligo today by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. Photo: James Connolly
Harry White ( 5), Winner of art competition at the official opening of the new €140 million N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Roads Project in County Sligo today by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. Photo: James Connolly

“We are in a joyful mood. You could not be any other way,” said local farmer Andy Hannon. He said people living along the old N4 felt huge relief that they can now turn in in and out of their houses and farms without dreading an accident.

Bernard Mulhern another member of the N4 Action Group said it was a “momentous historical occasion” but also a “poignant” day to remember those who had lost their lives on the old stretch .

“We are unveiling a beautiful commemorative stone in their memory and in their honour,” he said.

He said the white crosses erected by the action group on the old N4 to commemorate those who died had focussed minds.

“ The crosses did make a difference. Not only did they highlight the dangers associated with the old N4 but they made people more alert on the road, and I think they also embarassed the governments and politicians that this was a necessity”.

The Taoiseach said the project was important for a number of reasons, in terms of quality of life, reducing journey times, the economic impact and also the safety aspect.

Welcoming the project Cllr. Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council said said removing cars and trucks from the old N4 and the provision of a new cycleway had made local communities safer.

“It also has the potential to be a game changer by helping to boost the local economy, bring jobs to the region and make Sligo a better and safer place to live, travel, and work in,” he added.