Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has criticised the Transport Minister for refusing to allocate additional funding for essential road maintenance and upgrade works.  The current road surfaces are unsafe for pedestrians and are damaging cars, but the Minister is continuing to ignore the need for flexibility in funding allocations.

Deputy Smyth commented, “For months, I have been raising the issue of roads funding with Minister Shane Ross, and every time I receive the same standard response from his office.  It states that “works on those roads are funded from the Council’s own resources supplemented by State road grants”.  Despite the serious road safety issues posed by the treacherous state of the roads, the Minister is continuing to refuse to sanction additional resources.

“The situation was escalated last month after a constituent came to my office, extremely distraught after his wheelchair was damaged by the uneven surface.  His community had recently fundraised to buy a specially modified wheelchair accessible car for him but the road leading to his home is in such a bad state of disrepair that it is ripping the undercarriage of his new car, rendering him housebound.

“The Council has admitted that the entire road needs resurfacing.  They have been filling in potholes, but the road remains uneven, and only a complete resurfacing will solve the problem.  However, the Council does not have the funds to carry out the works.  I have been told that the money may be made available next year, but this is simply not good enough.

“There are a number of roads across Cavan and Monaghan which are in a very worrying state of disrepair, and it is impacting on the lives of people living here.  This man’s situation is a case in point – he is unable to drive his car because it is being badly damaged.

“Minister Ross says he’s “sorry to hear of the ill-health and ensuing difficulties” of my constituent.  However, he needs to supplement his sympathy with action.  I am calling on the Minister to exercise some degree of flexibility and sanction the necessary funding to ensure that these essential works can be carried out”.