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Nagle brands €4.8m roads allocation ‘inadequate’

The Department of Transport allocation of more than €4.8 million for the improvement and maintenance of roads in Clare for the coming year has been branded “inadequate” by a Fianna Fáil county councillor.
Ennistymon councillor, Richard Nagle said he believes the €3,568,000 for road improvement and €1,269,000 for road maintenance in Clare announced on Monday was insufficient to meet the needs of the county after recent extreme weather conditions caused extensive potholes and rupturing of roads. 
“I think it is totally inadequate. The roads are in extremely poor repair. The combination of the floods and the frost has made many roads virtually impassable and there is no way under the present allocation that we will be able to repair those roads and bring them to an acceptable standard,” councillor Nagle continued.
Prior to the announcement of the allocation, the Fianna Fáil councillor at a North Clare Area Meeting labelled Minister Noel Dempsey’s expectation that the council restore damaged roads within existing funds as “ridiculous”.
“It is ridiculous for the Minister for Transport to say we have to live within the funding we have,” Councillor Nagle stated.
The Ennistymon councillor pointed out that there had been a reduction in funding last year of about 27% adding, “For Minister Dempsey to say he has every sympathy but no money is unacceptable and it shows a total lack of reality with what is happening on the ground”.
Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Kelly added that “for an essential service like roads, people use them for tourism, they use them for work, it is such a major importance there is no way he [the Minister] should refuse to bring our roads up to standards”.
Councillor Martin Conway called for funds allocated to major roads projects, on which work has not yet begun, to be suspended until the damaged roads are repaired.
Last year Clare County Council was allocated nearly €21.8 million in regional and local road grants from the department.
This year Galway County Council is the lead authority on work on the Gort to Crusheen and the Gort to Tuam sections of the N18 was allocated €178.9 million. More than €176 million of this is designated for road improvement compared to €2.1 million for the maintenance of existing roads.
Councillor Nagle told The Clare Champion he would be putting a motion before the February meeting of Clare County Council calling on the Minister to provide additional funding “to deal with the reality that is facing the local authority. Filling of potholes and basic maintenance is only a very short-term solution and will in no way address the deterioration in the roads that we have experienced,” he claimed.

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