http://www.aanewsletter.ie/edition/1/article5.asp "No, its not April 1st and this picture is not a fake. Unbelievably, this disaster waiting to happen was left in situ in Co. Laois for nearly two years because of an argument between the ESB and Laois Co. Council. When The Star took these pictures and showed them to the AA it was removed within 24 hours. Residents of Ballylinan, Co. Laois, had to dodge this obstacle every day since the estate of new modern homes was opened. Laois Co. Council decided that as the pole carries ESB cables it was their responsibility to move it. The ESB countered that as it was originally designed to carry a street light it was nothing to do with them. In a combined act of irresponsibility that both bodies should be thoroughly ashamed of, they simply left it there. The dispute would have embarrassed a kindergarten playground, and the resulting road hazard could easily have caused a fatal crash. The complaints of the residents were ignored until The Star newspaper heard of the story and photographed the pole, showing the results to the AA Public Affairs Department. If I hadnât seen it I would not have believed it. I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasnât April 1st. It is an absolute disgrace. I hope that the ESB and Laois Co. Council do not find themselves having to explain their squabbles to the family of a dead motorcyclist killed by their combined neglect. While the agencies involved spent month after month ignoring the problem, and failing even to mark the death trap with warning signs or reflective paint, local people just had to get used to driving around the pole. âThese things can take timeâ was all the official response amounted to. It turns out that public embarrassment at the hands of the AA and a national newspaper can shorten that time appreciably. The Star ran the story on 4th March, and 24 hours later the offending pole was gone. Unfortunately the AA believes that the underlying bureaucracy that caused such a fiasco cannot be uprooted so easily. It is a stark example of how state agencies can be unresponsive and inflexible even though all are supposed to be committed to the governmentâs road safety policy. The AA continues to have concerns about such issues as the proper setting of speed limits by the local authorities â a major issue in the context of proposed new speed cameras. Co-ordination of roadworks and the quality of directional signs is also an ongoing problem. We hope that we wonât find anything quite as ridiculous as this pole-problem elsewhere, but if you have any examples of road hazards or other issues please let the AA know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org."