2014-01-24 19:25:22 - Councillor Tom McNamara (Fianna Fáil) says reductions in the annual Regional and Local Roads Allocation received by Clare County Council from Government is seriously impacting on the roads network, particularly in rural parts of County Clare.
The Ennis Municipal District based Councillor was responding to the news that Clare County Council is to receive just under 12 million euro from Government to maintain and improve its local and regional roads during 2014, representing a 2 million euro drop in funding received in January 2013.
Councillor McNamara said the funding reduction has “drastically reduced” the Council’s ability to carry out basic road maintenance work such as road surfacing, hedge cutting, and road drainage clearing.
He commented: “I have spoken with staff from the Council’s Road Section and it is clear that, through no fault of their own, the finances simply are not there to regularly undertake even the most basic of road maintenance works. This has led to
the deterioration of our roads, particularly in rural areas. For example, in recent weeks I have seen flooding occur on sections of the R474 between Ennis and Miltown Malbay as well as smaller regional and local roads where flooding has not occurred before, such as that experienced recently on the Bushypark Road. This flooding is the result of roadside drains not being maintained and becoming filled with debris. The blocked drains simply cannot cope with the volume of rainwater.”
Cllr McNamara, who is from Kilmaley, added: “The Government needs to reconsider the amount of money it allocates to local authorities. In my opinion, Councils throughout Ireland are fighting a losing battle and rather than being financed sufficiently to maintain local and regional roads they have to focus maintenance on the most travelled roads only. This is simply not good enough and is to the detriment of rural Ireland in particular.”
Meanwhile, Councillor McNamara noted that there was some good news for motorists using the R474 between Ennis and Miltown Malbay in the 2014 Regional and Local Roads Allocations.
He continued: “I have been informed by the Council’s Senior Engineer that road improvement and safety works, which are the subject of a 50,000 euro allocation, will take place at various locations along a 7-kilometre stretch of road around the village of Connolly. The works particularly relate to a number of bad bends on the main road, including one in Connolly village that has been the scene of numerous accidents down through the years. During February, the Council will be drafting a design and implementation programme regarding the works, which include resurfacing, the installation of road safety barriers and new signage. These designs will then be forwarded to the National Roads Authority for approval with works commencing later this year.”