DFI given seven days to erect ‘stop’ signs at junction

The scene of the latest accident
The scene of the latest accident

Farmers for Action say they have given the Department for Infrastructure seven days to erect ‘stop’ signs at a notorious accident blackspot in Co Antrim.

The move comes after another accident at the weekend involving tourists to the area.

In a letter to the permanent secretary of DFI, FFA says the accident on the Gracehill Road at Fivey crossroads last Saturday around 3pm involved American tourists yet again with at least three hospitalised.

The letter continues: “FFA lay the blame for this firmly with DFI.

“FFA requested a meeting with you on the very serious issue of the Gracehill Road, Co Antrim on the 22nd May 2019. This was on the issues particularly US and Canadian tourists not understanding Northern Ireland give way signs.”

FFA subsequently met with two engineers.

The letter continued: “We stated the case to them as you know, in print and verbally that due to the inadequate use of Give Way signs, Stop signs are required immediately as a health and safety/life death issue at crossroads on the Gracehill Road and others to prevent further serious accidents, which will result in further loss of life if not sorted.

“An American tourist lost his life at the Bregagh crossroads on the Gracehill Road last year as you know.

“FFA attended further meetings held by the charity Life After, where one of your representatives was present on both occasions to hear MLA’s, Councillors, FFA and others present, all call for international stop signs to be erected immediately. The US consulate were in attendance to see what they could do to help. Your Department could only suggest they were going to narrow the Bregagh Road on both sides of the Gracehill Road, costing thousands of pounds of tax payers money as opposed to Stop signs at the cost of £125 each approximately. Your representative was told by all, narrowing the Bregagh Road would not work, in fact it would create further risk to Gracehill Road traffic.

“On Saturday past by pure coincidence whilst on his way to his daughter and family, (who was involved with their three year old daughter in the previous accident at Bregagh crossroads on the Gracehill Road in May), our co-ordinator William Taylor arrived at the scene of last Saturday’s accident about 20 minutes approximately after the accident took place to find paramedics attending to one person on the ground, who later went to hospital.

“William Taylor spoke to the PSNI at the scene, as he had done with paramedics from the previous accident for them all to state, stop signs must go up immediately to stop these tragedies which if unchecked will lead to further loss of life,” the letter continues.

“It is therefore, time DFI joined the real world where Health and Safety Life/death issues must take priority and put an end to the life death lottery for local farming families, rural dwellers, tourists and others using the Gracehill Road and its feeder roads.

“At this point FFA give you notice that you have seven days to erect Stop signs at all crossroads on the Gracehill Road as a matter of health and safety and life death urgency along with other problem crossroads displaying give way signs in the locality causing problems in the area with tourists! Indeed this policy needs rolled out across Northern Ireland as soon as possible!”