Coun­cil­lors warn 22% road fund­ing hike not suf­fi­cient

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Christy Parker

East Cork’s TDs have been told by county coun­cil­lors, in a meet­ing which ex­cluded the me­dia, they are un­happy with the roads fund­ing al­lowance for this year, de­spite a 22% in­crease to Cork County Coun­cil.

Min­is­ter of State for Equal­ity, Im­mi­gra­tion and In­te­gra­tion Dave Stan­ton (FG) and fel­low TDs Kevin O’Keefe (FF) and Pat Buck­ley (SF) at­tended a meet­ing re­quested by frus­trated coun­cil­lors while Deputy Seán Sher­lock (Lab) was ab­sent.

The meet­ing was held ‘in cam­era’, how­ever, and specifics from the talks were con­se­quently un­clear.

The state of the re­gion’s roads dom­i­nates coun­cil­lors’ monthly mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict meet­ings, with dep­u­ta­tions from des­per­ate com­mu­ni­ties a reg­u­lar fea­ture. But coun­cil­lors have to con­cede short­falls in fund­ing, man­power, and other re­sources as con­tribut­ing to the vol­ume of pot­holes and the dis­in­te­grat­ing sur­faces.

In Jan­uary, Cllr Mary Line­han-Fo­ley said county coun­cil­lors, on the ground, suf­fer the ire of an an­gry pub­lic while the re­gion’s Dáil rep­re­sen­ta­tives, she claimed, “can get away with telling ev­ery­one there is loads of money avail­able for roads”.

Prior to the pri­vate meet­ing, Min­is­ter Stan­ton had pub­licly wel­comed the 22% in­crease as “con­sid­er­able progress”. He also claimed fur­ther large sums were also avail­able for mea­sures like drainage, lo­cal im­prove­ment schemes, and bridge re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Deputy Stan­ton noted Cork County Coun­cil would re­ceive €44.09m, equal to over 10.5% of the €416.8m na­tional al­lo­ca­tion, while con­ced­ing it fell be­low al­lo­ca­tions in 2007 and 2008.

In 2008, Cork County Coun­cil was al­lo­cated €64.99m for re­gional and lo­cal roads and con­trib­uted its own fund­ing to make a to­tal of €82.31m avail­able for roads. Eight years later, in 2016, the to­tal was merely €44.44m, with a cen­tral govern­ment al­lo­ca­tion of €29.65m.

In the same times­pan, NRA/TII grant aid for na­tional roads in the county fell from €85.3m to €9.19m.

And fund­ing, at the dis­cre­tion of mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict coun­cils, has also dropped lo­cally by €4m yearly.

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