Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen has slammed the Government for failing to ring-fence money collected through motor tax for use in maintaining Irish roads.

Deputy Cowen made the comments after Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming received information at the Public Accounts Committee which shows that the Government has diverted vast sums of money from motor tax receipts to shore up Irish Water.

“This year alone €400 million collected through the motor tax was diverted to fund the subvention going towards the establishment of Irish Water. This means that over 35% of the total money collected through motor tax is being dropped into the financial black hole that is Irish Water. A similar payment of €439 million was made in 2014 and another payment will be made in 2016.

“It’s simply astonishing to think that the Government is diverting motor tax receipts towards Irish Water at a time when roads are literally being washed away across the country. Information obtained by my colleague Sean Fleming at the Public Accounts Committee shows that the Government has underspent by an estimated €289 million per annum on road maintenance, which is the primary reason why the roads are in such a bad state.

“The Government say they can’t find the money to maintain the roads, but at the same time they are pumping motor tax money into Irish Water. It is nothing short of a scandal.

“The Government needs to reassess its spending commitments in light of the recent storms. Communities are cut off as a result of collapsing roads yet the Government has failed to allocate the necessary funding to repair the damage,” said Deputy Cowen.