BY BRIAN MOORE and
COUNTY Mayor Declan Hurley has said he probably needs a helicopter rather than a car to fulfill his duties, such is the hazardous state of the region’s roads.
He was speaking at a meeting of Cork County Council this week where there were cross-party calls for an immediate increasing in funding and staff to combat the serious conditions faced by motorists.
Standing orders were suspended to discuss the roads and members heard that in some cases emergency vehicles had been forced to ‘slow to a crawl’ on urgent calls in West Cork.
‘The report and photos in The Southern Star last week shows just how bad the roads in West Cork are,’ said Cllr Kevin Murphy.
‘These conditions could cost lives,’ said Cllr Paul Hayes. ‘I am constantly receiving messages and calls from people whose cars have been damaged and it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt if their car hits one of these potholes. In fact, I have received messages from ambulance crews who have had to slow down almost to a crawl while taking patients to CUH.’
Cllr Hayes also pointed out that motorists pay over €100m in road tax every year, but the county council gets back just €40m of that from central government for road maintenance.
And with more wet and stormy weather conditions forecast for the coming weeks, councillors also called for more overtime to be allocated to outdoor staff in an effort to tackle the potholes and road drainage issues.
‘We need a blitz on potholes now,’ Cllr Murphy said. ‘We have to call this an emergency because that is what this is.’
County Mayor, Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said they were losing the battle: ‘This is unacceptable, everyone is paying their motor tax and they are being robbed. The buck stops with the Minister and there must be emergency funding for roads immediately,’ the Dunmanway man said.
Cork County Council’s deputy chief executive, Declan Daly, said he had not received any requests or contact from the emergency services in relation to roads and that he would prioritise road repairs in any area requested by the emergency services.
He said there were 15 velocity patchers working in the county and the Council was currently recruiting more outdoor staff.
Cork South West Independent TD Michael Collins said he raised the issue of the state of the roads in West Cork in the Dáil this week.
Meanwhile, a heavily potholed junction in Enniskeane village has left more drivers furious.
County Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley said that in an attempt to make the junction safe in the short term, temporary repairs were carried there this week.
But he blamed Irish Water for delays in proper reconstruction of the road. ‘The background to the problem is that a thin surface was laid on this junction about four years ago as a full road re-construction was not considered feasible at that time because Irish Water was looking to separate the storm/ foul sewer, which would require a storm outfall to the road at GP Wood Ltd,’ said Cllr Hurley.
Cllr Hurley added that situation with Irish Water has not yet been resolved.