Cllr Emily Wallace and Elisabetta Fasan talking about a dangerous junction near St Tola’s NS.

WATCH: Fears of ‘head on’ crash at N52 junction next to school

Residents are calling for urgent traffic calming measures and a slip lane, to prevent an accident from occurring at a busy junction near a national school on the N52 Mullingar Delvin Road.

Fears of ‘head on’ crash at N52 junction

Elisabetta Fasan has been living in Killulagh, next to St Tola’s NS, Delvin since 2010. A native of Italy, she and her husband run a family business in the area, and their children aged 10 and six, attend Loughegar NS.

She says residents have to endure lengthy waits to access the N52 at school times near St Tola’s, but the real danger is when cars travelling from the Mullingar direction attempt to turn right for St Tola’s, as traffic from Delvin slows to turn left at the junction.

As there is no slip-lane for the left-turning traffic, motorist attempt to pass the slowing traffic, not realising there is are cars also in the centre of the road waiting to turn right.

Elisabetta fears there will be a head-on collision and believes the problem would be easily solved with the addition of a slip lane or hard shoulder.

“The new road is brilliant but it’s the junction that is dangerous. The minor issue is the long queue of traffic every morning at 9 o’clock. Before the N52 was upgraded, there was another access route that allowed entry and exit here, and there were no problems. That was closed when the upgraded N52 was opened and traffic during school times has got much worse since then.

“There is no double lane at the access point to the N52 in spite of the generous space available, there is only room for one lane, so cars just have to queue.

“What’s more dangerous is when you’re coming from Mullingar and turning right for St Tola’s and my home, you are sitting there (in the centre of the road).

“Traffic from Delvin slows and turns left for St Tola’s, but the traffic behind tries to overtake, making it a danger for a head-on collision. If you are in the traffic island waiting to turn right, you are like a sitting duck.”

“I thought a roundabout would have been ideal here because near Belvedere in Mullingar they put in a few roundabouts in the middle of nowhere. I was talking to my husband, and we are not engineers but we try to use our common sense and a double lane there accessing the N52, as well as at the left turn from Delvin accessing St Tola’s, would have avoided the danger.

“In the dark, the junction is not lit up, the danger is on the main road when you are sitting at that junction and you see a car overtaking, it has happened to me two or three times and I have two children in the back. Like me, there are plenty of other families around this area.

“I contacted some politicians who said they are aware of the danger here, but one of them said to me that unless there is an accident or fatality, nothing will change.”

Elisabetta says there are other dangerous junctions along the route, one just a two kilometre towards Delvin, at Caddagh Cross, where residents are also concerned.

A queue of traffic on a busy school morning, which could be solved, Elisabetta thinks, by the addition of double lanes.


Cllr Emily Wallace, who is originally from the area, first raised the dangers at N52 junctions at council level in 2020.

“I know a lot of parents are going up to Delvin GAA pitch to turn around there and come back down to St Tola’s because they are sitting ducks in the middle of the road when they are turning for St Tola’s NS,” said Cllr Wallace

“If you come out from Delvin, you come on this junction quickly and motorists are accelerating out of the built-up environment. It is the same at junctions all along this road, at Turin too, but when I raised it two years ago, I was informed by council executives that the road was up to ‘TII standards’ [Transport Infrastructure Ireland].

“You will hear that because there are no fatalities or incidents, there are no problems, but there has been near misses and that’s enough,” she said.

Cllr Wallace wants to see some measures at least.

“To get double lanes or a hard shoulder here would take time because it will need to go to planning, but what can be done quickly are traffic calming measures like flashing lights and road markings to alert people that there is a school up ahead,” she said, adding that she was successful in securing the same measures at other local schools.

“At Loughegar and Gainstown we got flashing speed signage, children crossing signs, and road markings stating ‘School Ahead’. We also got a pedestrian crossing at Loughegar from the GAA pitch to the school, because the GAA there allow use the parking to stop the build-up of traffic on the road. And that was important to the community there to keep the traffic moving. It’s about us working with our communities to make it safe for everyone.

“It’s clear something needs to be done here, and fast, because don’t forget, the N52 is the main thoroughfare from the north to the midlands. There is such a large amount of traffic and heavy good vehicles, and agriculture vehicles because this is a rural area, and it is an extremely busy junction. It’s about making it work for everyone.” Cllr Wallace said.