Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary says despite feigning concern about people affected by last winter’s storms and flooding, funding allocations for much needed repairs and defence schemes have fallen far short of what’s needed.
New information released to Deputy Calleary through Parliamentary Questions reveal that €5m has been allocated for road repairs and upgrades, despite Mayo County Council submitting a request to the Department of Transport of over €7.3m. Similarly, three flood prevention schemes in Ballina, Crossmolina and Foxford are still awaiting approval from the Department of Public Expenditure, which has failed to set out a timeline for a decision.
Deputy Calleary commented, “At the height of the winter storms and subsequent flooding Government Ministers and TDs were promising that the issue was a priority and that they would ensure that funding would be made available to compensate those affected and to begin flood defence programmes to prevent future episodes. Almost three months later and it is now obvious that flooding has fallen off the agenda.
“Roads across the county have been seriously damaged by the flood waters which savaged the west coast in November, December and January. Many remain in a treacherous state and certain roads are simply impassable such is their condition. Despite Mayo County Council submitting an application to the Department for €7,383,851 to fund essential repairs for regional and local roads, only €5,000,000 has been allocated to date. This is well below what is needed to bring these roads up to scratch.
“The Government is also dragging its heels when it comes to approving flood relief programmes. Out of the 4 projects which were lodged by Mayo County Council with the OPW since the beginning of the year, only one has been approved to date. Essential works in Ballina, Crossmolina and Foxford are still sitting on the Minister’s desk. This is simply not good enough. Will we have to wait for another flood to hit Mayo before the issue is taken seriously and the money is provided? I am calling on the relevant Ministers – Ministers Howlin, Donohoe and Harris – to speed up the process and ensure that the areas which need this funding are allocated it without delay”.