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Leinster Leader 9/10/2008
Municipal matters in the county town got a prominent airing in a Leader issue of October 1958. The opening shot in a debate on traffic dangers in Naas was fired by council member, Comdt. Guiney, at the meeting of the Urban Council. The Councillor said that nobody was safe crossing the streets as the cars and lorries came racing through the main streets without the slightest slowing down of speed. Conveying an image of a traffic free-for-all in Naas, in the era prior to speed limits, Comdt. Guiney said that anyone would imagine that motorists would slow down to a reasonable rate coming into the town. There should be some consideration at least for children and old people who could only attempt a crossing at the risk of their lives.
Cllr. James Lawler added an even more personal experience to the issue. He said that coming to the meeting on the night he had to jump for it when crossing the street as a motorist blazed his lights on only a hundred yards away.
Cllr. Barney Smyth inquired if there was any possibility of imposing a speed limit. Council Chairman, Cllr. T.G. Dowling, said the council had tried that before but failed. Cllr. G. Muldoon said that the council could put up a notice requesting motorists to cut down their speed to 20 miles per hour going through the town.. The Acting Co. Manager, Mr. Joseph Boland, said that the matter would probably be dealt with under a new Road Traffic Act.
Cllr. Barney Smyth said that three children had been injured recently in road accidents. Cllr. William Daly mentioned that he knew of a man who narrowly escaped with his life whilst crossing the road. Cllr. James Lawlor remarked that the only sign posts the council could effectively put up were ones carrying a penalty. Cllr. Jack Lawler suggested that the erection of bollards would help pedestrians crossing the streets and, in an attempt to be humorous, he remarked that pedestrians could hop from one bollard to another – a comment which drew laughter from his council colleagues.
Cllr. Fitzsimons said employees coming out of factories on the Newbridge Road were being put in grave danger by speeding motorists. In reply to Cllr. Smyth the Co. Manager said that the Chief Superintendent had agreed that there would be special Garda supervision when children were leaving schools at the Fair Green.
An interesting glimpse into housing plans in Naas was revealed as councillors questioned the Co. Manager on the identity of the architect appointed for the proposed housing scheme at the Sheep Fair Field in Naas (between the Kilcullen and Ballymore Eustace roads). The Co. Manager said the name of the firm of architects had been sent to the Dept. of Local Government for sanction and the matter was confidential.
Continuing the discussion as to how sites should be completed, Cllr. Fitzsimons said that they shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the entire site should be developed. They had experience of other housing schemes where they were left with hills and hollows, about which they could do nothing. The Chairman Cllr. T. G. Dowling said that in connection with the housing scheme at Sarto Road had the council been more fortunate they could have included the filling in of the canal harbour and the continuation of a roadway across it. It is interesting to note that for a number of years the UDC had a plan to fill in the canal harbour (treasured in modern times as an amenity).
Cllr. Fitzsimons said that the finest scheme the Council had completed was at St. Conleth’s Place but nevertheless, they had made a very obvious mistake in that people had to pass through the sittingroom to go to the kitchen. He suggested that people should be able to view the actual house that they were going to erect in the new scheme. Cllr. Jack Lawler said that the council houses could not compare with the beautifully laid out houses of the Electricity Supply Board at St. Gabriel’s Place. However, the Council’s Town Clerk, Mr. J.P. Whyte, was quick to point out that these houses had cost £2,200 each to build which was way beyond the council’s range.
At the same meeting Cllr. William Callaghan inquired if the vacant sites at New Row and Mill Lane were for sale following the demolition of the old houses at the locations. The Co. Manager, Mr. Joseph Boland, said that the sites could be offered for sale but a re-orientation of the road at the corner leading to Mill Lane would have to be made. Cllr. Fitzsimons suggested that the council should be in no rush to sell the sites because ‘ if we had done that with the Sheep Fair Field we could have no housing scheme there now.’

In his regular Leader feature 'Nothing New Under The Sun,' Liam Kenny examines the Leinster Leader for October 1958 and finds that traffic management and housing plans for Naas were the issues under discussion at a meeting of the Urban Council. 

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