COUNCILLORS in West Cork have voiced serious concerns about the deterioration of roads in their constituency.
According to Fine Gael’s Cllr Noel Harrington, decreasing funds have meant that the local area engineers simply do not have a budget to improve already deteriorating roads which is leading to a rapid decline of the West Cork infrastructure.
These sentiments were echoed by Cllr Danny Crowley who said that this summer’s heavy rainfall has left some of the local roads in a “deplorable condition” with one road being so badly effected that it was near impossible to pass it without a quad bike.
The councillors raised these concerns at this week’s meeting of Cork County Council when they asked County Manager Martin Riordan to explore all the avenues, which would allow the area engineers’ greater discretion and flexibility in spending their budgets so that they would have an emergency fund to deal with deteriorating roads.
“Funding for roads is usually ring fenced once it is approved and the roads, which have been approved, have to be done and the allocations have to be spent.
“What has happened now with decreasing funds is that more and more emergency funding has to be applied for as roads are deteriorating. The area engineers’ office is completely hamstrung. Their hands are tied with regard to funding and they’re saying they’re just not able to do it.
“People feel that some allocations could be better spent on roads that are deteriorating quickly and I think we should look at any way that more discretion could be given to the area engineers offices to spend the money on roads where it’s most needed,” said Cllr Harrington.
Responding to these concerns County Manager, Martin Riordan said that while he believes that the council itself is best placed for deciding where such funding should be spent, the reality is that such funding is becoming more and more centralised.
He said that while he accepted that discretionary money should be made available locally that he believed that with the next budget just around the corner, that area would be lucky to hold onto what they can. “At the outset, we’re just not getting enough. Even if the cake was big enough, we’re still not getting a big enough slice of the funding to fund all this,” he said.