By Kieran O’Mahony
A WEST Cork councillor has described the decision by the current Acting Minister for Transport, Pascal Donohoe, not to allocate extra funding for the roads network in Cork as a ‘raw deal.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) was reacting to a letter from Acting Minister Donohoe, which was sent to councillors at a meeting of Cork County Council last week.
Acting Minister Donohoe said in the letter to the Council that he ‘allocated funding on as fair and equitable a basis as possible’ and that Cork County Council would receive €29.6m as part of this year’s regional and local road programme.
‘As regards possible additional funding this year, there is no further funding available under these grant programmes – Restoration Improvement, Discretionary Grant and Restoration Maintenance,’ said the Acting Minister.
He did also point out that Cork County Council has been allocated a severe weather grant of €11m and that further funding in respect of storm damage will be allocated in May.
However, he said that the Council needs to ‘prioritise their spending’ and that the ‘purpose of Exchequer funding is to supplement the Council’s own resources.’
‘Considering over €54m is collected in road tax in this county with most of it going into Irish Water, this is certainly a raw deal rejecting the Council’s request for extra funding for our dilapidated road network,’ Cllr Paul Hayes told The Southern Star.
‘We have over 12,000km of roads in the county and with the increase in the economy we have more lorries on the roads,’ he added.
‘The abolition of the milk quota means there are more such lorries collecting milk in rural areas and you also have trucks collecting the huge amount of fish in places like Castletownbere. Also, we are trying to promote the Wild Atlantic Way with damaged roads across the region,’ said Cllr Hayes. The meeting was held before last weekend’s storms caused even more damage to the county’s roads.