CLARE’S newly elected Oireachtas members are to be invited to the next meeting of Clare County Council, where councillors will put funding for the county’s roads “on the shopping list”.
The council is also set to write to the Government seeking funding of €1.6 million towards maintaining the roads. This comes after councillors last month sought to raise a loan of the same amount from the Department of the Environment, with the council currently awaiting a decision.
At this week’s council meeting, Councillor Christy Curtin urged that they request the Government to reactivate local road grant allocations.
He commented that in the wake of the withdrawal of funding allocations for the Local Road Improvement Scheme and the suspension of the Community Involvement Scheme, people in rural Ireland “aren’t getting the benefits of other citizens”.
Figures released by the council show that the Local Improvement Scheme funding dropped from €906,000 in 2009 and 2010 to €302,000 in 2011, the last time a specific allocation was incorporated with road grants. When ring-fenced funding was withdrawn in relation to Local Improvement Schemes at the beginning of 2012, there were about 90 applications on a priority list.
Councillor Ian Lynch said, “rural Ireland is being forgotten”.
Councillor Johnny Flynn suggested writing to the Minister for Rural Affairs seeking funding of €1.6m to match the loan application funding.
“We need to be proactive and get on with the work,” he said. This was supported by Councillor Gerry Flynn.
Councillor Pat Hayes added, “There is a category of people out there living in areas of the county where no funding is being set aside for them in any shape or form; it’s a serious problem.”
Acting CEO of Clare County Council, Ger Dollard informed the councillors that the loan application has been submitted to the department, who sought further clarification from Clare County Council, with Mr Dollard stating that “a decision is forthcoming”.
Councillor Curtin said, “People are not getting the services. When we meet our Oireachtas members, we will put it on the shopping list”.