COUNCILLOR PUTS OUT CALL FOR ROAD FUNDING
A call for the Government to free up more money for local councils to tackle the dire state of some of the roads in rural Ireland went out this week from Fine Gael councillor Pa O’Driscoll in Fermoy.
“Cork County Council, like all local authorities, is under serious financial pressure. The local government fund was reduced in the last budget, road grants have been slashed, and the collection of rates has been reduced as businesses close and those open find it more difficult to pay their rates.
" There are two ways of getting funding to do major work on our roads. Either we get it from the government, or we are allowed raise the money in other ways ourselves. I would hope that the community involvement scheme, where major work can be done on rural roads when the local community agree to fund 25% of the costs, will be maintained for 2010, or even expanded,” Cllr O’Driscoll told The Avondhu.
A bill of over €1 billion has been estimated by some as the cost of getting the roads repaired.
“The rural roads are in a mess. There are large potholes in the middle of the roads, and large crevices have formed on the verges of many roads. The €6m promised by the manager of Cork County Council is welcome and will deal with surface dressing. But the major problems will not be touched by this funding.
Local authorities have been dependent on commercial rates and the government for funding since water and domestic rates were abolished in 1977. That was a shortsighted move that has since only led to problems, and will have to be re-examined.
“That is not the only problem however, as the system of local government that we have does not lead to efficiencies. There does not seem to be enough political will to reform local government. Not all funding that local authorities receive is spent well, as water leaks and poor drainage works on roads have shown in the last two months,” Cllr O’Driscoll concluded.
Thursday 28th January 6:23pm