Parents are to launch an all-out campaign to demand a lollipop crossing patrol is restored outside the Courthouse in Armagh.
And they are planning on meeting tomorrow (Friday) morning to discuss how they intend to move forward.
The action comes after Armagh I reported on Wednesday night the depth of feeling over the failure to replace a safe manned crossing after the retirement before Hallowe’en of the existing lollipop patrolman.
Since that time, there has been no lollipop crossing to usher children across from the Mall to the Courthouse and the bottom of College Hill.
Parents of children attending the Armstrong Primary School will meet at Caffe Nero in Scotch Street at 9am on Friday morning and all are invited.
One of the organisers, Wendy Cooke, confirmed to Armagh I : “We will be discussing an action plan with regards to the road crossing at the Courthouse.
“We will continue to raise awareness as to how dangerous it is.
“Unfortunately by the time paperwork is sorted a child could be injured or killed.
“The crossing patrolman gave ample notice of his retirement to have a replacement in place.
“We are going to discuss it tomorrow and attack it head on next week – take recordings of the kids crossing the dangerous road, and try to get some councillors, the headmaster, and Education Board representatives down to witness the road crossing.”
A father-of-two – who wished not to be named – also contacted us after our report on Wednesday night to hit out at the situation which they now find themselves in.
He explained that both of his children attend the Armstrong Primary School and would cross the road at this location every morning.
He told us: “I spoke to the previous patrolman about the situation and he had given the Education Authority over a month’s notice of his plans to retire, so they have had plenty of time to sort this out.
“I rang the Education Authority within two days of there being no patrolman and was passed around four different people to be told that they will be carrying out an assessment, which I dont see why this should be.
“There’s been a patrolman there for as long as I remember and I’m 30 years old.
“I told the last person I spoke to from the Education Authority it was left up to me and one other parent on the bus we get off to cross between 10 and 20 pupils to which I got the response ‘could you not get off at the new crossing outside the education offices, cross there and walk up that side of the road?’
“This can’t be allowed as it’s not a bus stop and still takes away from the problem of other children crossing the road at the top of the Mall.”
Armagh I contacted the Education Authority before Hallowe’en when we were made aware of the situation and asked for a response.
We still have had no official statement.
The father-of-two welcomed our decision to publish the story and highlight the situation.
He added: “I was actually speaking to my partner yesterday about contacting you if nothing was sorted by the end of the week and also the fact that once again our local politicians/councillors or whatever they want to be referred to sit back and watch this mayhem happen, but are happy enough to pose for pictures at the school and use the school for their voting days.
“An absoulte joke is what this situation is!”
We will, of course, bring you the official response from the Education Authority when we receive it.