County councillors have called for rainbow pedestrian crossings to be installed in towns around the county. PHOTO: Raphael Renter

Rainbow crossings not so black and white

A number of Cork county councillors have questioned why rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossings can be installed in other parts of Ireland but not in Cork county.

At Monday’s meeting of Cork County Council, Sinn Féin Cllr Danielle Twomey called for rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossings to be installed on a pilot basis in Mallow, Midleton and Carrigaline in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

However, a written response from Padraig Barrett, Director of Services, Roads and Transportation, Cork County Council, stated that any deviation from established zebra crossing conventions would be “unsafe, unexpected and could present a danger to road users”.

With rainbow pedestrian crossings having already been installed in Dublin, Limerick and Wicklow, Cork county councillors questioned why it should be any different for county Cork.

Cllr Twomey Danielle Twomey said: “What I'm asking for here is not for us to break the rules or illegally paint traffic crossings. I'm asking for us to complement already established crossings with the rainbow colours.”

She continued: “There are rainbow crossings installed in areas in Britain that incorporate the entire crossing. Limerick has just installed its first rainbow crossing outside Limerick City and County Council offices which was very much welcomed and celebrated by the local community.”

As with those installed in Limerick and Wicklow, the design would see the rainbow colours run across a given street, parallel to an existing zebra crossing on both sides.

It was also recently reported that Cork city will have rainbow pedestrian crossing ahead of Pride Week.

Supporting Cllr Twomey’s motion, Fianna Fáil Cllr Gearoid Murphy acknowledged that safety is the top priority when it comes to pedestrian crossings but asked why it was possible for other areas to install rainbow crossings.

He said: “I acknowledge that road safetly must be of paramount concern when it comes to pedestrian crossings, there's no question about that. However, I would question how Cork City Council is able to do it, how Dublin City Council is able to do it, and we can't do it in Cork County Council.”

In October 2020, Independent Cllr Paul Hayes pushed for a rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossing to be installed in Clonakilty but said his suggestion “ran aground” due to national policy.

He said: “Pedestrian crossings are there first and foremost to provide a safe crossing but there does seem to be an anomaly around the country. So far we haven't had any joy in West Cork in progressing our plans. It is something that BRÓD, the local LGBTQ+ campaigning group are very keen to progress.”

Responding to the councillors’ questions, Cork County Council Chief Executive, Time Lucey, pointed out that the original wording of Cllr Twomey’s motion may have caused some confusion and said that if there are ways of accommodation the motion, the council will do so.