AT a recent meeting of Cork County Council, Cllr Aindrias Moynihan (FF) said that TV adventurer Bear Grylls would ‘struggle to get through the potholes in some of the roads in Co Cork’.
Cllr Moynihan was responding to a report on the Regional and Local Road Grant Allocations for 2016, which showed a reduction of 6.8% on last year’s allocation.
Cllr Aindrias Moynihan (FF) said the news of the reduction is ‘as horrific as the state of the roads’ and described the allocations as ‘anti-rural.’
‘This makes for grim reading and gives little hope to the people of this county. What’s so frustrating is that the road tax paid by Cork motorists is going into Irish Water and it’s hugely infuriating for people,’ said Cllr Moynihan, an election candidate for Cork North West.
This year’s allocation of €35,268,260 is down 6.8% on the 2015 figure, while the Restoration Improvement Grant (RIC) of €18,987,236 is remaining the same as last year.
The Discretionary Maintenance Grant allocation – the main source of funding for ongoing maintenance tasks such as pothole repairs and drainage – is marginally up on the 2015 figure.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) agreed that the report was disappointing. ‘Roads across the county are in a very poor state and the Department hasn’t seen fit to increase the allocation in 2016. The reality is that we will have inferior roads for the foreseeable future,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) described it as a ‘loaves and fishes’ programme. ‘Our roads are way behind the standard and I’ve heard of one case in Macroom where an engineer had to put tape around a road as the conditions were so bad.
‘I have also had complaints from people who suffer car damage while on their way to NCT. There is no recovery in West Cork and the roads are in a Third World state,’ said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Noel O’Donovan (FG) said there was ‘politics in play’ with some of the criticism from his fellow councillors.
‘There was a lack of investment even in the good times and we would like to see further allocations, but where will the money come from? We must be realistic. At least the RIG grant is the same as last year and the Department has been clear on that,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) described the report as disappointing and said it was a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
‘The RIG grant is one of the most important grants and now we see that up to 25% of this may be transferred to the Discretionary Grant Allocation. The people of rural Ireland have been failed by this government,’ said Cllr O’Flynn.
Cllr Michael Collins (Ind) said he was extremely disappointed with the allocation, especially considering that ‘West Cork roads are in an appalling state’.
‘We should get the minister to come down and see the roads of West Cork and we should consider community funding schemes,’ said Cllr Collins.
Cllr Michael Hegarty (FG) said that all councillors should be united on this and push the department for extra money.
Tom Stritch, director of services with Cork County Council, said that the Council has made a submission for a further €12.9m, following a circular from the Department inviting submissions for repair works resulting from recent storm and flood damage.