Breen urges talks to resolve Signage Crisis in Ballyvaughan.

June 30th, 2011 - Pat Breen

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Clare T.D. has called for urgent talks with the local development and business community in Ballyvaughan in an effort to resolve the ongoing signage crisis in the North Clare villages.

“On foot of numerous representations which I have received from the Ballyvaughan/Fanore areas of North Clare regarding the removal of the iconic tourist signage in the village of Ballyvaughan and the absence of adequate signage along the coast and in the Fanore area, I contacted Sean O’Neill of the NRA and I have received his response today. I have to say that I am very disappointed with this response and it does not address the issues which I had raised.”

“At this stage, it is important that all relevant stakeholders, whether it is the NRA, Clare County Council or Failte Ireland sit down with the local development organisations and the local business people in this area. The local people know the problems they face; the Ballyvaughan/Fanore area is one of the top tourist areas in North Clare and given that many small businesses are already struggling in the current downturn; it is important that they do have any further disruptions.”

“If all relevant stakeholders sit down with the local communities, I would be confident that an amicable solution can be found to the current signage crisis, which will be acceptable to all side. This should happen sooner rather than later as this years summer season is well underway and there is an urgency about the matter.”

Ends

See response from NRA – Sean O’Neill for your information.

29/6/2011

Dear Pat,

The audit of existing signs by the NRA in conjunction with Clare County Council had identified hundreds of signs that were erected on local authority signposts without formal approval. The erection of advertising signage is tightly regulated for road safety and environmental reasons. Local authorities have responsibility for monitoring the use of these signs within urban areas and locations with speed limits of 50km/h or less, not the NRA. The council was consulted in relation to the resigning of national routes in North Clare and it is understood that there was a general round of public consultation locally.

Clare County Council, in conjunction with a number of tourist agencies, prioritises tourism through many publications, including the recently launched County Development Plan and the County Tourism Strategy and widely promotes events, festivals and natural attractions using the website, newsletters and through local and national media. Specifically, in relation to signage, a Burren Signage Plan has been carried out. The plan was done in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, the NRA, Burren Connect and other agencies. It focuses on a strategic approach to signage and in particular, endeavours to deliver a consistent design and approach to signage.

The legal basis for erecting signage is contained in the Planning and Development 2000. Section 254 of that Act provides that a person shall not erect, construct or maintain in place … an advertising structure on, under, over or along a public road except in accordance with the appropriate licence from the local authority.
The planning regulations 2001 set out the scale of fees, which apply to certain structures. The annual licence fee as specified in the Planning Regulations 2001 is currently €630 for an advertising structure and a reduced fee of €50 applies in the case of tourist accommodation. Application must be made to the local authority.

Sincerely,

Sean O’Neill

National Roads Authority