Extra signage may be a tall order for Clonmel councillors

The National Roads Authority (NRA) have agreed to meet a small deputation from Clonmel Borough Council who want to discuss the lack of road signs for Clonmel, along routes from busy cities such as Waterford, Limerick and Cork.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) have agreed to meet a small deputation from Clonmel Borough Council who want to discuss the lack of road signs for Clonmel, along routes from busy cities such as Waterford, Limerick and Cork.

A meeting has been sought with the NRA for some time, in relation to concerns about the impact that this lack of road signage is having on Clonmel, its tourism potential and economy. The issue has been raised on a number of occasions by Cllr Siobhan Ambrose, whose concerns about the impact this lack of signage is having on Clonmel, were shared by her colleagues.

However acting senior roads engineer Peter Britton told councillors that they have a strong argument on their hands, if they expect the NRA to add extra signs for Clonmel.

Mr Britton attended the monthly meeting to provide some clarification to councillors on the NRA’s signage strategy, and how it decides what signs are erected in what locations. The NRA must abide by the National Road Signage Guidance Policy which is issued by the transport minister and contains everything to do with signage from lettering, space, language, directions and warnings. This document, which is based on international knowledge, is the basis for how the NRA sign roads in Ireland.

Some of the basic rules the NRA follow for signage guidance is that the amount of words must be kept to a minimum so as not to confuse the driver, and signs must be uncluttered with minimum information contained.

He explained that different classes of roads will have different signs of which there are two distinct types known as ‘advanced direct signs’ which you would see about two kilomtetres before the destination, and ‘direct signs’ which you see at roundabouts for example.

He said the NRA will say that the current method of signing roads works very well and they won’t want to deviate from that for Clonmel, as other towns may want to follow.

Cllr Ambrose welcomed the NRA’s agreement to meet with the deputation but made the point that Clonmel used to appear on signs in the past that have since been removed. She found this incredible, she said.
“From Limerick, the first sign was always Clonmel, now it is Waterford. And from Waterford the first sign is now Limerick. Similarly this is the case from Cork,” she said.
“Clonmel is the largest town in South Tipperary and will still be the most populated town in Tipperary even after the amalgamation. It is incredible that you will see signs for food in areas where there are 100 people at a push, and we are denied signs for our town,” she said.
“We want to attract international and national companies and push tourism, it is futile and nothing short of disgraceful and if we don’t make a stand now, we will be obliterated. We are trying to encourage businesses and tourism here yet the NRA have decided to take us off signs. We were once on them, the issue is why were we ever removed?” she asked.

Cllr Richie Molloy said it looked as though the town is being downgraded and said they had to work hard to ensure that signs are erected before the amalgamation happens.

Cllr Leahy said that motorway signs now seem to direct people from city to city , with towns being wiped out.

“We certainly need to highlight Clonmel, it shuld be as accessible to a total stranger as to everyone else.”

Cllr Teresa Ryan said that she was extremely embarrassed that someone attending a recent launch in Clonmel, got lost on the way because she did not see a signpost for Clonmel.

Mr Britton said that the NRA are very hard cast about this issue, knowing that if they break the rules for one town they will have to break them for 12 others.

“Simple signage, no clutter, they believe in that and you will have to have a strong argument to change their mind,” he said.