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County Council losing battle to maintain roads network

November 19th, 2020 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Cllr Joe Carroll and Cllr Declan Hurley are calling for a meeting with the Minister for Transport to save West Cork’s rapidly deteriorating roads network.

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WEST Cork roads are deteriorating faster than they can be fixed, according to Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind).

At a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District last week, Cllr Hurley complained that a further €500,000 cut in funding next year will make the situation even worse.

Weeks before the West Cork Municipal District held its budget meeting in Dunmanway, Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) requested that a delegation be arranged to meet the Minister for Transport.

Cllr Declan Hurley renewed that appeal at a subsequent meeting of the Western Committee of Cork County Council, but before it could be arranged, the members of the municipal district were informed of an €800,000 cut in their draft budget, of which the lion’s share is coming from roads and transportation.

Even with the latest cutbacks – which have come about due to Covid-19 costs and pressures on Cork County Council’s income streams – the West Cork councillors are adamant that a meeting with Ministers Eamon Ryan and Michael McGrath is needed.

Cllr Hurley said there is some hope that the €500,000 shortfall in 2021 could be made up by the central government, but even if that happened he said it would just reinstate the status quo.

Cllr Joe Carroll is of the opinion that a minimum of €50m is needed to restore West Cork’s road infrastructure.

Cllr Hurley argued that recent floods had wrecked so many roads that ‘a special case’ should be made to restore the entire area.

As chairman of the Council’s roads and transportation strategic policy committee, Cllr Hurley made the case for greater funding with government officials at an online meeting recently.

He told the officials that West Cork had suffered more than most in terms of storm damage and that if measures were not taken to improve the network now it would soon be too late – that they’d be ‘beyond repair.’

‘We need to meet with Ministers Eamon Ryan and Michael McGrath for the purpose of requesting enough money to repair and maintain our vast network of roads,’ he told The Southern Star.

‘The desperate condition of the roads is due to a lack of significant investment, and years of underfunding by successive governments,’ the councillor added.

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