Concern was expressed at a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting about the ability of some residents to produce the necessary 20% local contribution to facilitate roadworks on what in most cases are effectively cul-de-sac roads.
However, 12 communities in East Clare have lodged their contribution before the closing date a few weeks ago. They include Cloontra, Sixmilebridge; Clontra West Sixmilebridge; Kilcooney, Whitegate; Middleline, Mountshannon; Tintrim, Whitegate; Greg Cross, Whitegate; Killuran, Broadford; Annagh, Feakle; Faha, Killanena; Garyeighter, Whitegate, Ballyhurley, Ogonnelloe and Coolreagh, Bodyke.
These roads will be included in the council’s annual roadworks programme and it is expected they will be completed over the coming months. The council is waiting for payments from residents living in Tyredagh, Tulla; Ballybeg, Whitegate; Ballyvannon, Tuamgraney; Kiltannon, Tulla and from Coillte, who have to pay a contribution for roads they regularly use.
All 26 applications received and submitted to the department throughout Clare have been approved, subject to conditions and over half of these are in the Killaloe Electoral Area.
While acknowledging participation of residents in the Community Involvement Scheme for cul-de-sac roads is voluntary, Councillor Pat Hayes insists that householders living in rural areas don’t really have a choice because no repair work will be carried out unless they pay sums ranging from hundreds to thousands of Euro.
The Fianna Fáil councillor has pointed out the withdrawal of Clár funding for these community roads has forced residents living in isolated areas to dig deeper into their pockets to make a significant contribution to road repairs outside their home.
Speaking at a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting, Councillor Hayes expressed concern about reports that some regional roads throughout the country were now being proposed for the Community Involvement Scheme.
Councillor Hayes said he would be opposed to the inclusion of regional roads in this scheme as he felt they should be funded from the existing programme. He wondered what would happen in communities where residents hadn’t the money to make the local contribution and asked if the proposed works could be deferred for a year or would they have to join the queue and reapply again the following year.
Councillor Michael Begley pointed out that any road that was proposed for the scheme was done so on the basis that a local contribution was necessary, which residents were fully aware of before they signed up to it.
Councillor Hayes pointed out the contribution in some cases could be up to €5,000 for some residents, while some roads required an overall local payment of €15,000 between residents. He asked if benefit-in-kind preliminary works completed by residents such as hedge cutting or drainage works could be considered as part of the monetary contribution.
When Councillor Pat Burke was liasing with residents about approvals for the scheme, he made them aware of the conditions. “I told them the good news is your road has been included in the scheme. The bad news is you have to make a local contribution,” he recalled.
He said that overall, residents were happy road works would be completed, as they realised it wouldn’t happen without the pilot scheme.
Killaloe Electoral Area engineer, Hugh McGrath, told councillors that overall funding for the Roads Programme had been cut dramatically by over 43% in the last two years.
Councillors were also told that the scheme is regarded by the Government as providing great value for money and provided a mechanism for doing works, which wouldn’t normally be completed.