‘Turf war’ fears over forced road closures


A COUNCILLOR fears people frustrated at the forced closure of roads outside their homes for sporting occasions could do something like “drop turf” to cause an obstruction.

Moyle councillor Randal McDonnell says he is opposed to forced road closures for events like motorbike races and car rallies.

In Northern Ireland there is Road Closure legislation which can be used by event organisers but Cllr McDonnell said it is “a great imposition on people’s freedom”.

He said roads some times get closed in the Torr area near Cushendun for sporting events and he said it is “outrageous”.

Cllr McDonnell was speaking at a meeting of Moyle Council in a debate about ‘contingency days’ being brought in so that event organsiers could move the day of their event at short notice, if for example bad weather was forecast.

Cllr Joan Baird said events like motorbike races bring “considerable benefit” but said they create many problems for people living along the route.

If you a farmer, she said, you have to move animals as you don’t want livestock being scared and perhaps jump a fence onto the route of a race with all the consequences that could go with it.

And she said owners of dogs and cats along event routes basically have to keep them “imprisoned”.

Cllr Baird said if people living along routes are happy with ‘contingency days’ she would be.

Consultation on the matter was due to close in recent days, councillors were told.

The Times reported last week that councillors in Moyle were split on whether ‘contingency’ days should spread to Sundays.

A majority of Moyle Council backed the possibility of Sunday being used for road races in Northern Ireland in response to a Stormont consultation document.

But Unionist councillors present in the Ballycastle were against the proposal.