Giro d’Italia route ‘needs safety checks’

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SAFETY checks are needed to ensure sections of the Antrim Coast Road do not crumble into the sea ahead of the world famous Giro D’Italia cycle race this year, a councillor says.

Councillor Colum Thompson (Sinn Fein), was speaking after he raised the matter at a meeting of Moyle District Council in Ballycastle.

He wants roads chiefs to send out engineers to inspecgt the road - along which the cycle race will pass this May when the world spotlight will be on the district.

Cllr Thompson says Moyle District Council is to write to Road Service asking them to investigate the structural integrity of the Coast Road.

In a statemen released after the meeting,Councillor Thompson said: “The Coast Road is an iconic route famous the world over,.

“Indeed it was voted as one of the top ten driving routes in the world.

“ In August 2012 I placed a motion before Moyle District Council asking for a conference to be held involving Moyle, Larne and Newtonabbey Councils so that we could form a joined up approach to marketing and promoting The Coast Road.

“Unfortunately my motion was not supported by other Councillors, never the less I firmly believe that The Coast Road has huge potential for attracting tourism if it is given the proper promotion.

“Make no mistake about it, one of the main reasons The Giro d’Italia cycle race is coming to Ireland is the views along the Coast Road.

“During the storms over the past eight weeks The Coast Road has been battered by huge waves and torrential rain.

“We have seen several land slides and flooding in a number of places along the road between Glenariff and Carnlough.

“The road has previously been affected by rock falls at Garron Point. If we are to preserve this iconic route to use as a tourism product and for future generations then I firmly believe that Road Service must be proactive in protecting the road.

“An investigation into the structural integrity may reveal no problems,

“However, if the recent storms have done any unseen damage to the road then we are better knowing now so that the appropriate action can be taken,” the councillor’s statement ended.