MEMBERS of the Western Division of Cork County Council seemed unimpressed with a 14.7% increase in its 2020 budget for road restoration works.
According to Cllr Joe Carroll (FF), a cool €50m is what is needed to restore the shoddy conditions of West Cork’s road network.
The Council’s director of services for roads and transportation, Padraig Barrett, confirmed that in 2007 the Council had an allocation of €81m with which to work. He said the figure for 2020 is €30,228,000 – up €3,874,000 on last year’s allocation.
However, Mr Barrett did admit that the Council needs to be ‘restoring’ 5% of its road network every year if it is to be properly maintained, and that just 1.8% was done in 2019.
He said the aim for the year ahead is to do 2% of the overall ‘to do’ list and he reminded the councillors that the Cork allocation is, in fact, 12% of the national allocation.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the increase in funding was welcome, but added: ‘It is still one of the lowest in terms of funding given that we have over 12,000km or roads.’
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said he brought the divisional manager, Clodagh Henehan, (and ‘nearly killed her at the bridge in Adrigole after an artic lorry came barrelling down on top of them’) and the roads director to Castletownbere to see the most pressing infrastructure problems.
Cllr Murphy said the number of trucks and lorries leaving Castletownbere on a daily basis warranted a significant investment, and he said the completion of a major tourism project focusing on the Dursey Cable car will, in time, attract thousands more.
When there is a new minister for roads appointed, Cllr Carroll said a delegation should go to Dublin to meet him or her, and that he or she should, in return, be invited west to see the deplorable condition of the roads.
Both Cllr Carroll and Cllr Karen Coakley (FG) were adamant that the proposed Gortnacloghy ring-road is urgently needed to stop Skibbereen town centre – and North Street in particular – from being choked daily by traffic congestion.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said one of the reasons the road network is in such a bad condition is that drainage works are not being carried out. He claimed water ponding on the road is undermining road works.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said she received a letter from the pupils of Ballinspittle National School from the pupils asking for a footpath and she said improved pedestrian safety measures are required outside the school at Ballineen and Enniskeane.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said he ‘wanted answers’ about the delay in having Marino Street and Glengarriff Road resurfaced. He said: ‘I am getting the flak over it.’