Recommended safety measures following the death of a tourist at Rocher de Dunamase in Laois

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Road safety measures are sought at the site where an American tourist was killed in Laois last week.

Le Rocher de Dunamase is to get proper parking for visitors, but not until 2024 or later. In the meantime, we have to work, says a departmental councilor from Laois.

On Friday, October 7, a Colorado woman, Laura Jones, 59, was killed when she was hit by a car while standing in the small parking lot at the foot of the hilltop Rock of Dunamase Castle.

Her husband, in his 60s, was also injured. Both were on holiday in Ireland with their two adult daughters.

A teenage driver was arrested and later released as a Garda investigation is ongoing.

Cllr Willie Aird has now urged Laois County Council to make the roads safer.

“We have to put measures in place. Put something in place for safety, there are narrow roads there. If money is needed, do it, for repair work. We are talking about a shortly before a parking lot if archaeological digs are needed first,” he said at the October 18 monthly meeting of the Municipal District of Portlaoise.

Cllr Thomasina Connell had tabled a motion at the meeting, asking for an update on parking planned by Laois County Council. She offered her sympathy to the bereaved family.

“I would like to express my sympathy to the lady’s family. I was very saddened to learn of this. I had filed my request beforehand.

“I’m glad to see the car park moving forward. The story there is phenomenal and I don’t see why we don’t do more of it. I know there are a lot of costs associated with it and I am not surprised that we need to do a lot of study, it’s normal in a project like this. It’s slow. I hope that in the summer of 2024 there will be a parking lot up there so we can really make it a tourist stop. It’s one of the highlights of Leinster, not just Laois,” said Cllr Connell.

Cllr Willie Aird seconded his motion but said the death was of local residents.

“There is a huge brake with the inhabitants, with this very serious incident. All our work to bring people there, and it is great to see them stop, but this fatality is difficult to understand. The inhabitants are very upset.

“There are huge crowds up there. Thanks to Covid it has been discovered by a lot of people, and also thanks to our promotion on brochures all over Ireland and to tourist businesses,” he said. declared.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald also offered her sympathies and said residents are also asking that the Rocher de Dunamaise be “cleaned” of brambles, shrubs and grass.

Cllr Noel Tuohy said his daughter lived near the Rock and said it was underutilized.

Laois County Council official Dom Reddin, responding to the motion, said several studies had been carried out regarding a car park, including a visual impact assessment and geophysical studies, as recommended by the Monuments Service nationals.

“Surveys have revealed a landscape that contains a large number of possible archaeological and agricultural anomalies.

“An agreement has been reached with a landowner to purchase a site subject to Part 8 planning for parking. It is expected that this Part 8 will be brought before council by January 2023 and the sale completed in February 2023 The car park development will then be considered subject to funding,” Mr Reddin said.

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