School children’s lives put at risk

St Teresa's Primary School principal, Eunan Kearney pictured in the school carpark where the school bus has difficulty getting parked at times due to parents taking up the designated bus space. INLM02-201.
St Teresa's Primary School principal, Eunan Kearney pictured in the school carpark where the school bus has difficulty getting parked at times due to parents taking up the designated bus space. INLM02-201.

A Lurgan primary school principal has warned that children’s lives could be at risk because of dangerous parking by some parents and carers.

Mr Eunan Kearney, principal of St Teresa’s Primary School believes irresponsible drivers bringing or collecting young children may be putting other youngsters in peril by poor parking.

St Teresa's Primary School principal, Eunan Kearney pictured in the school carpark where the school bus has difficulty getting parked at times due to parents taking up the designated bus space. INLM02-200.

St Teresa's Primary School principal, Eunan Kearney pictured in the school carpark where the school bus has difficulty getting parked at times due to parents taking up the designated bus space. INLM02-200.

Fraught with worry, Mr Kearney described scenes of pandemonium as some parents park recklessly in bays assigned solely for buses or for those with disabled badges.

“It means some children are walking between cars and buses. If it doesn’t stop someone could get badly hurt,” he said.

Since the new school was built at Tarry Lane, extensive car parking was created both at the side of the school and at the front with a special section for buses.

Mr Kearney said it was just a small minority of parents who have refused to cooperate with pleas not to park in disabled bays or at the bus lane.

Ciaran Toman, SDLP Representative. Mr Eunan Kearney, Principal St Teresa's Primary School. Inspector Brian Mills, PSNI. Dolores Kelly MLA, SDLP.

Ciaran Toman, SDLP Representative. Mr Eunan Kearney, Principal St Teresa's Primary School. Inspector Brian Mills, PSNI. Dolores Kelly MLA, SDLP.

“We tried to put cones up but the bus drivers said for health and safety they cannot get out of the bus to move them before parking up. We have put the cones to one side but still some parents insist in parking there,” he said.

Mr Kearney praised the vast majority of parents who adhered to the school policy on parking but blamed a small minority of drivers who parked irresponsibly.

“We will be forced to close the gates only for buses and then parents may have to park in Tarry Lane. This could lead to more congestion on that road but we need the buses to come in to the school,” he said.

The beleaguered principal added that they had called in the PSNI to assess the situation.

He revealed that measures currently being looked at included spot checks by the PSNI, issuing fines or setting up double yellow lines.

He appealed to parents to show more care and consideration for the safety of young children at the school.

Meanwhile SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said: “Despite the efforts from the Principal and other staff, some parents and grandparents continue to ignore requests from staff to abide by the traffic management system.

Mrs Kelly said: “Some parents are repeat offenders who stop their car within the designated bus lane putting other children’s safety at risk.

The SDLP MLA said: “Children’s safety must be a priority. St Teresa’s Primary School is fortunate to have an overflow car park a short distance away and parents have the ability to access the school’s grounds to drop their children off.”

Inspector Brian Mills from Lurgan NPT said: “We will work closely with the School and take appropriate action when required but would remind parents and carers that it is a Road Traffic Offence to drive a vehicle on a road or other public place without reasonable consideration for other people using it and a driver could receive three Penalty Points for this offence.

“Parents and carers driving to St Teresa’s need to closely follow any instructions they have been given by the school,” said the PSNI officer.

“This will ensure no-one is inconvenienced and more importantly reduces the risk of a child being seriously injured in the vicinity of the school,” said Inspector Mills.