To regret deeply is to live afresh

Perks. Perks, (noun) the special benefits given to people who have a particular job or belong to a particular group. When I started out in life as a scribbler for a local newspaper the most sought after perk was the free bar.

Such events would be proffered at 'launches' of different kinds. It could be a campaign launch, a book launch, or even award ceremonies. Back in the olden days such a free bar was not the extravagance of the Celtic Tiger weddings or the Galway Races tents, more likely a parsimonious individual hovering over a couple of bottles of red and white wine.

But it was free drink in a time when such a thing was manna from heaven.

The world changed. Ireland changed. This was most notable for me at the turn of the last decade when attending a press launch and noting there were more people queuing for coffee than for the free bar.

Nowadays the main perk of the trade for a curmudgeonly old man is having a licence to give out. Once you pass the five decades mark the inclination towards vexation sharply increases. This was amply demonstrated on a journey from Cavan to Longford through Lough Gowna.

This is a glorious route to travel where the motorist will put up with the bumpy terrain to appreciate being flanked by lakes and drumlins. However on Tuesday evening the journey on that majestic loway was brought to a halt by a big sign at Gowna's crossroads telling me to go back from whence I came.

Not being one to take a hint lightly, I ignored the road closed signs and pressed ahead. I was obviously not the only one to take this course of action as there was a line of six vehicles when we came to a point about a kilometre or so later where an actual human man was barring the progress of motorists.

“Where are you off to?” he inquired when my turn came. “I'm off to Longford,” said I as light and breezy as the summer evening itself. That light and breezy disposition changed to storm clouds as he said: “You may go back then.”

I suggested that I passed no signs to suggest an appropriate diversion, to which the helpful gentleman said: “There are, I put them there.”

The helpful man told me my best route was to go to Arva and progress from there. I believe that technical term for my temperament at this stage was “flittering”. Back to Gowna I went.

This is where the perks come in. I pulled up outside Sloane's in a bid to calm my nerves and rang my inside source in Cavan County Council. I railed, moaned, did a bit of teeth gnashing and read for the contractors from a height. I am sure that passing pedestrians in the pastoral village would have been perturbed by my in-car gesticulations.

I explained how I passed the whole way from Potahee to Gowna without seeing anywhere along the line that I was obliged to take an alternative route.

To cut a short story long I was reassured that my inconvenience would be duly noted and that answers to the questions of how someone of my elevated status could be mildly inconvenienced would be answered.

So here were my questions:

- What is the policy regarding the outlining of alternate routes?

- Are contractors appraised of the importance of liaising with motorists unfamiliar with the area (not me, but I care about the little people) as to how to navigate the diversions?

- Are the contractors familiar with the area and do they know appropriate alternative routes?

The perks of being a modern journalist means that you get the following reply:

FP McCann limited [of Drumard Road. Magherafelt, Derry], acting on behalf of Cavan County Council, is currently engaged in road surfacing work on the L2510 Gowna Dernaferst Road, assisted by SLG Road Safety [of Corgary, Ballybofey, Donegal] Limited. As is standard practice when undertaking a road closure of this nature, the contractor prepared a road closure traffic management plan detailing the nature of the closure, the alternative routes, and appropriate signage to be laid out. The signage was set out in accordance with the traffic management plan, and the diversion was clearly signposted in advance of the diversion, outside Gowna Village at the junction of the L-2510 with the L-2508. The policy of Cavan County Council is to divert traffic via roads of similar size and capacity, so as to avoid the diversion of heavy goods vehicles on to minor roads unsuited for such traffic.

A survey of the diversion signage on Wednesday morning revealed the signs were still in place. In some cases, motorists may inadvertently miss the main diversion signage, and signage such as that photographed by the motorist in question is put in place as an additional safety measure to inform motorists that they need to turn back. Cavan County Council regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of these roadworks.

I have my doubts about the implementation of their signage on the approach roads last Tuesday, but I am a lone voice in the wilderness. What I have is the 2021 'special benefit' of my chosen career; knowing that I have caused the local authority regret.