CORK Cork County Mayor Declan Hurley has said €44 million worth of funding from the Government for road improvements in the county is not enough.
Transport Minister Shane Ross has announced that Cork County Council is to receive €44m of €417 allocated nationally for road pavement works, surface dressing, road maintenance, roads projects, bridge rehabilitation schemes, drainage works, community involvement schemes and other projects.
Mayor Hurley said the funding is welcome but will not solve the issues of Cork's crumbling road surfaces, a topic which was discussed at length by county councillors at the last full meeting of the local authority.
“I am delighted to hear about the funding for our road network across County Cork. Works have been funded right across the county from Grenagh to Fermoy to Skibbereen,” he said.
“While I welcome the investment it has to be recognised that it does fall short of what is needed to address the current state of the roads,” he added.
At a meeting of Cork County Council on January 22, Mayor Hurley had described the condition of some roads in the county as a “danger zone”.
Paul Hayes (SF) said he had spoken to members of the emergency services who have complained of road conditions that are so bad, particularly around Bandon, they were having to drive more slowly, especially when carrying people with spinal injuries.
Mary Linehan-Foley (IND) said some roads in East Cork are impassable and are “falling away” in some areas.
Mayor Hurley told councillors that he felt people who are paying road tax are being “robbed”.
“I sympathise with motorists. Everyone is paying their motor tax, but they are being robbed. The money is going into a hole, pardon the pun. We are losing the battle and we have to lobby our Oireachtas members. The change has to come from central government,” he said.
However, Minister Ross said he is happy with the “significant” funding and added that it represented an increase on 2017 funds.
“Overall 2018 will see a funding increase nationally of about 29% to €417 million including €44 million in Co. Cork,” he said.
“While the funding in 2018 will largely continue to support the maintenance of our current regional road network, expenditure on road improvements projects will also increase. A significant number of these projects have a safety focus,” he added.
Cork County Council's allocation breaks down as €25,017,000 for road improvements; €4,303,000 for road improvements; €1,956,000 for supplementary maintenance; a discretionary grant of €8,766,000; €1,695,220 for bridge rehabilitation, and €1,306,500 for drainage works.
The remaining funds are set aside for speed limits, safety improvement works and training grants.