A MOTORIST who fell victim to a large pothole at Gaggin, outside Bandon, is looking for the man who changed her wheel for her in treacherous conditions last Friday evening.
In fact, it is believed that he also helped other motorists who found themselves pulled in at the side of the road in similar circumstances.
Liadain O’Driscoll was on her way to Baltimore from Cork city when she hit the pothole at Gaggin, at around 5.30pm, which forced her to pull into the hard shoulder.
‘Once I pulled in, I noticed that two or more cars behind me hit the pothole and there was one car in front of me also pulled in. It was pouring rain and there was no phone reception. I got out and was about to change it myself when this man in a tow truck came out and asked me if I needed help,’ Liadain told The Southern Star.
‘I wasn’t sure myself if I could change it, due to the oncoming traffic and wet conditions – he made it much easier for me and he also helped the couple in a car in front of me. I’m sure he helped others there, too. I thanked him and he said his name was Brian O’Mahony. I would like to find him to thank him for his help as it could have been a hairy situation with all the cars pulled in and the rain too.’
Liadain has had to fork out €140 for a new alloy and tyre and she is getting a mechanic to look at the suspension in the car.
‘I would be amazed if the suspension was intact after hitting that pothole,’ added Liadain.
Meanwhile, a Ballineen motorist who hit a massive pothole in the middle of the road near the Michael Collins monument in Béal na Bláth last Saturday evening, is now down €400.
Julia McMurray had the misfortune of hitting the hole on Saturday evening while on her way home.
Her story is just one of many as several people had the same bad luck last weekend in the same spot.
‘When I hit the pothole it damaged the front right-hand wheel. I drove on for a bit before I pulled in up the road. I rang my husband then, who came to help me and some local people also stopped to help,’ Julia told The Southern Star.
‘That pothole was there for a week at least and Cork County Council did nothing about it. I reported it to the Bandon office on Monday morning and they told me they knew nothing about it, and that they only go out to fill potholes if they get a call from the public.’
Julia was told by her garage that it would cost her over €200 for a new rim, while the tyre itself will set her back €90. On top of all of that, the tracking may be also be out, bringing the total bill to €373.09.
‘I got onto the Council office in Cork to find out how I could make a claim, and I was told that I would need photographs of both the pothole and the damage done, as well as an estimate of the cost of repair from a reputable garage. They’re sending me out a claims form to fill out.’
Following her call to Cork County Council, Julia drove back to Béal na Bláth and took several photographs of the pothole to substantiate her claim for compensation.
‘They told me it could take up to two to three weeks for my claim to be processed and I’m hoping I won’t be out of pocket,’ added Julia.
Andrew Shorten from Newcestown, who also hit the same pothole at Béal na Bláth on Friday night, suffered punctures to his front and back right wheels. He said the ‘upkeep of local roads is a disgrace.’
‘The water has nowhere to go, as the sides of the road are not being cleared anymore, and I could not see the pothole with the water on the road,’ he said.
Andrew ended up having to get two new tyres at a cost of €80 each, and luckily his mechanic straightened the alloys for free.
Regarding the pothole on the N71 at Gaggin, a Council spokesperson said that it was repaired at approximately 5.30pm on Friday evening, as soon as the Council was aware of it.
‘The pothole appeared during the extremely heavy rain on Friday and was addressed immediately. Unfortunately, potholes can occur for a multitude of reasons, many of which are beyond our control, and would be worsened by weather such as we had last Friday. Overall, we monitor this road regularly and address issues as they arise, within the constraints of the available resources,’ a spokesperson said.
Regarding the potholes at Béal na Bláth, the Council spokesperson said these were filled last Saturday afternoon and again on Monday.
Meanwhile, gardaí are advising motorists to be prepared by always carrying three essential items in their car, in the event of a breakdown or a burst tyre at night.
‘You should always have a torch, a high-vis jacket and a hazard triangle in your car,’ said West Cork crime prevention officer Sgt Ian O’Callaghan.
‘You would be amazed at the number of people who don’t even have a torch in their car. The hazard triangles are invaluable if you are stopped near a bend, especially on the many West Cork roads that don’t have a hard shoulder.’
Sgt O’Callaghan also reminded readers that that many West Cork roads have poor mobile coverage, so that it is essential to be prepared, especially in bad weather.