A petition has been launched by students at Queen’s University calling for a crash barrier to be reinstated at an accident blackspot in South Belfast which claimed the life of a fellow student last year.
Prompted by the death of 18-year-old Enda Dolan, this week’s petition outside the Students’ Union aims to have the crash barrier restored on the Malone Road before another life is lost.
Mr Dolan, a first year Architecture student from Killyclogher in Omagh, County Tyrone, lost his life after he was struck by a van during the early hours of October 15 last while walking back to his student accommodation at Queen’s Elms on the Malone Road. Two men aged 19 and 29 who were arrested in connection with the incident were later released on police bail.
The crash barrier at the scene of the tragedy had been removed just weeks before and not replaced. It was originally erected in 1977 to protect pedestrians after two students died in a crash at the same location. Residents living in the area say they believe the barrier at the junction of the Malone Road and Sans Souci Park would have saved Mr Dolan’s life.
To date, the Department of Regional Development (DRD) has declined to reveal the reason why the barrier was removed however it is understood that the Transport Minister Danny Kennedy is considering its replacement.
SDLP Councillor for South Belfast, Declan Boyle has backed calls by the Dolan family and a leading civil engineer to have the barrier replaced as a matter of urgency amid fears that there could be another serious accident at the dangerous corner.
One of those taking action to have the barrier restored is second year Law Student Jack Donnelly, who said the response to date to the petition has been fantastic.
He told The Scoop: “Cllr Declan Boyle contacted me last week to express his anger over the fact that nothing had been done about the barrier. He has been in contact with Minister Kennedy and the DRD on several occasions seeking answers as to why it was taken down and when could it be put back up.
“I was living in Elms last year myself and believed that it was essential to public safety to have the barrier there, especially when so many students walk that road every day and there are also a school and church nearby.”
He added: “The response has been fantastic and we will be continuing with the petition today and throughout the week. The petition will be handed to the Minister himself to show the support around Queen’s University from students and people who live and work in the local area with the message that the barrier needs to be put back up.”
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