By Kieran O’Mahony
CORK County Council is to receive €11m from the Department of the Environment to fund extensive road repairs in the county.
At a recent Western Committee meeting in Clonakilty councillors were told that €12.9m had been requested by the Council at the start of last month and they finally received confirmation from the Department on the funding in recent weeks.
Tom Stritch, director of services with the Council also pointed out that the council is still awaiting for nearly €1m that was sought from the Department following the September floods and that this further request is to repair roads damaged by various storms in December.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said the roads across the county are ‘in tatters.’
‘I have never seen in my time so many bad roads, it’s catastrophic and I’m getting umpteen complaints from people. Brand new roads that were repaired are wrecked now and drainage has to be assessed, maybe a monthly drainage programme is needed as the wet mix is coming out,’ said Cllr Murphy.
Cllr Noel O’Donovan (FG) asked Tom Stritch when they would find out about the extra funding but he was told that there was no indication of a date.
‘Is there anything we can do? It’s like a pothole blitz and the roads are lethal,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.
Cllr O’Donovan did welcome the confirmation that the infamous Bohonagh to Newmills section on the N71 is to progress and that realignment design works and planning process are due to be completed before the year end. He also welcomed the commitment to progress two resurfacing schemes along the N71 at Lisavaird and Innishannon which are estimated to be worth in excess of €3 million.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the roads around Bandon were like a different country compared to some in Skibbereen.
‘We will have to get money and we have to keep shouting,’ said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) also highlighted the Bandon to Timoleague road which was ‘back to square one again’ after potholes that were filled are now damaged again.
Cllr Michael Collins (Ind) said he had to agree to with Cllr Murphy that the roads are in tatters.
‘It’s the biggest issue I find on the doorsteps while out canvassing and people are extremely angry. We have seen a gradual withdrawal of road services and we have to take a responsibility and go back to basics, which means carrying out verge cutting, end the staffing embargo and clear the drains,’ said Cllr Collins.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said far more investment is needed and in order to protect the roads and said concrete gullys should be put in.
‘We need to rethink this and we need to be proactive. I would be the first councillor to welcome any concrete funding but will take any news of it with a pinch of salt,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan. Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said that some roads are in a horrendous condition and welcomed the application for extra funding.
Tom Stritch said that there is no restriction on engineers doing drainage but the Council needs to make the funds ‘go as far as we can’, and that works will carry on now that funding has been confirmed.