County councillors not happy with €66m funding for Cork roads

Cork received the highest allocation of all rural counties in the country
County councillors not happy with €66m funding for Cork roads

Some Cork County Councillors were unhappy with the funding, citing the length of the county’s roads. Picture Denis Minihane.

THE allocation of over €65.8m in funding for County Cork’s roads is “not good enough”, according to local councillors.

The funding was granted to the county by the Department of Transport for 2022 and covers multiple areas including maintenance, safety improvement works, climate adaptation works and more.

Cork received the highest allocation of all rural counties in the country, with Co Galway receiving the second-highest grant of €37.6m.

The grant, which totals €65,817,488, is 2.8% higher than the allocation for Cork for 2021 and is the highest ever allocated to Cork.

However, some Cork County Councillors were unhappy with the funding, citing the length of the county’s roads.

Nearly 13% of Ireland’s Rural and Local Road (R&L) network is located in Cork, equalling a length of around 11,740km.

According to Cork County Council's Director of Roads, Padraig Barrett, had the grant allocation been made on the basis of road length, Cork County would have benefitted by an additional €9.2m.

Mr Barrett said that compared with other local authorities, Cork County Council had actually received the fourth-lowest grant allocation based on road network length and that more funding is needed to maintain and improve Cork’s roads

"This level of funding is unprecedented. It's the highest ever allocation to Cork County and it is the highest allocation in the country,” Mr Barrett said during a Full Council Meeting this week.

"What we would argue is that economic activity is an indicator of traffic and heavy goods traffic, which is really what does the damage to our road network.

“If we had that factor [considered like] Meath and Kildare, we would have an additional €15m in expenditure in 2022."

A number of new challenges also face the council this year, including rising inflation. Tender costs, which increased by 10% in 2021, are expected to rise by another 5% in 2022. Not adjusting for inflation, the 2022 grant allocation sees a return to the level of funding allocated in 2008.

"It looks pretty good to see €65m coming in for roads. Looking at the table itself, however, it places us fourth from the bottom and that's not good enough for Cork County,” said Councillor Kevin Murphy.

12,000KM OF ROAD

“We have 12,000km of county regional roads. That's five times the size of Kildare and they've gotten double of what we're getting when it's broken down.

“I think we have to go back once again and impress on the Department once and for all that Cork County is the largest county."

West Cork Councillor Joe Carroll was similarly disappointed with the allocation and said that he had requested an additional emergency allocation for his region.

"We're playing catch up and that's not good enough. What really sickens me is that in my experience going to places like Kildare, I've often wondered if we could ever get roads in West Cork like they have,” Mr Carroll said.

"Now we've been told that they're getting nearly the same allocation as us. We should be sending a delegation to some minister because there are roads in West Cork that there should be no traffic allowed on because they're so bad."

A number of councillors said they would support the sending of a delegation to speak with Government ministers on the issue. 

The Mayor for the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, is hoping to get an audience with the Minister for Transport for multiple road issues raised in this week’s council meeting.

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