Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Grit your teeth - the road isn't


Gombeen Man had a jaunt into the countryside yesterday to see an acquaintance in the lovely county of Leitrim. As is usual with these things, conversation soon got around to our prolonged cold snap (can a “snap”, by definition, be prolonged? Lets say “spell” instead).

Apparently the roads have been treacherous around that neck of the woods, with villages such as Dromod and Mohill being particularly badly affected, due to the council’s budget not stretching to grit each and every road. It seems that only national and “priority roads” stand a reasonable chance of remaining safe when the thermometer takes a plunge. Last December was a particularly wicked month, with a spate of accidents on “minor” roads - including those in and out of villages. Fortunately there were no deaths or major injuries.

Even I was surprised, however, when told that a local councilor had come up with a novel solution to combat the problem: villagers should grit the roads themselves!

According to a December report by Leonie McKiernan, in the Leitrim Observer, Councillor Caillian Ellis noted that “not everybody lived along the main routes and this left a large proportion badly affected by the icy roads”, so he suggested that “sand or grit be left at various locations around the county so local residents could apply it if necessary.”

I assumed my friend was extracting the yellowy fluid, until I was shown the actual report from the paper. It was true!

As Christy Moore once said: “Don’t forget yer shovel if you want to go to work”…

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

6 comments:

Bernd said...

It might not be as demented as it sounds, if ...

Placing small containers of sand or grit near roads for the public to use is quite common in some parts of Germany. That would be the really hilly parts and the containers would be on steep inclines that would be deadly without grit.

In theory this works by councilpersons coming on foot and using the grit with a shovel, as no lorry can navigate those stretches before gritting (leaving us with Billy Connolly's eternal question how the man driving the snowplough gets to work in the morning).

In practice the first local citizen will get out the old shovel and fling a few pounds himself.

But, my friends, I fear that this was not what our enlightened councillors have in mind ...

The Gombeen Man said...

I'm sure it's not what the good councillors have in mind, Bernd... The buggers would have us out gritting the whole network if they thought they could get out of doing it themselves!!!!

Lew said...

I got to say I laughed when I saw that.
I know Dromod and Mohill well, lots of small windy lanes, and lots of boggy areas too, and the roads around those areas are pretty treacherous at night when when the weather is good, Thankfully I've never had to drive around there in icy weather.

Someone should make the guy that proposed that get out of his nice warm heated mansion in the middle of some night when its extremely cold and tell him to drive those roads and then see what its really like, or even better give him a shovel and some grit!

On the other had the question I have is - where has all the money gone?

The Gombeen Man said...

Good question, Lew. Where has it gone?

Yes, my friend has been living in Leitrim for a few years now, and the roads are not the best in winter. Thing is, where once the Dublin-Sligo road ran through places like Dromod, now the the N4 has bypassed them and they find themselves driving on a skating rink to get to the main road!

Ella said...

GM, Bernd, Lew, LOL here, the delivery, class! Now as to where the money has gone, ever heard of the brown envelope, tax incentives for investors and .... well I could go on and on....

Netgeek said...

In Northern Ireland main (and busier secondary) roads are gritted by the DoE/roads service but for cost reasons grit boxes are left in housing states for the residents to do themselves (or for dogs to poo into).

Also (unlike the Republic) footpaths/pavements in town centres are gritted but then walking is just for losers who deserve to break their necks really .......