Friday, 23 February 2007

Roche favours Wicklow in roads allocation

Roche favours Wicklow in roads allocation
By: Suzanne Pender

ENVIRONMENT Minister Dick Roche allocated €20million to non-national roads in his native Co. Wicklow, three times the total received by Carlow, so argued Cllr Tom Kinsella at a recent meeting of Carlow County Council.

Cllr Kinsella said that he was very disappointed with Carlow’s 2007 roads allocation.

“Carlow got a 7% increase on 2006, which, when you take into account road construction costs there’s no real increase at all,” said Cllr Kinsella.

“He gave •20million to Wicklow, that’s three times what Carlow got, and Carlow got a disappointing 2% less than the rest of the country,” he added.

Cllr Mary White described the roads in Borris as “a lace curtain of potholes”.

“I congratulated Cllr Kinsella in supporting my campaign,” she said, a comment that rose more than a few heckles around the chamber.

Cllr Jennifer Murnane O’Connor welcomed the plans to repave the Kilkenny Road and also asked if the allocation would include work on signposts within the county.

Cllr PJ Kavanagh thanked Minister Roche for the allocation of

•500,000 for the road at Boggan/Kilbride, •750,000 for Tullow and •100,000 for the bridge in Rathvilly.

However, Cllr Kavanagh was critical of the council’s outdoor staffing levels in Tullow.

“Whenever I contact the office there’s no one on the ground to do the work, they’re all occupied,” he said. Cllr Kavanagh then proposed a solution to free up staff and suggested the purchase of a specific lorry, similar to one operated by Wexford County Council.

“That lorry does the same work as any number of men, if we got that it would free up five men. You should have seen it working away, it was a pleasure to look at the man flying up and down the road patching up his holes,” said Cllr Kavanagh.

Director of Services Eamon Walsh stated that his own impression since arriving to the county was that Carlow had a high standard of regional roads but some of its smaller roads had been damaged due to bad weather. He stated that the allocation was in proportion to the length of national roads, adding that the council requested a 15% increase in surface dressing and we got that.

Referring to Cllr Kavanagh’s suggestion, Mr Walsh said there must be a health and safety issue to operating in such a manner with just one man.

Cllr Michael Abbey stated that the Green Road was in need of major repair and this couldn’t wait until 2008.

Cllr William Paton stated that the footpaths on the Castledermot Road in Tullow were “a disgrace”.

“It is so unkempt... a perfect example of the real problem. We are at the coalface and we are the ones getting the abuse. We want extra men in Tullow,” said Cllr Paton.

Cllr Jim Townsend said that when he read the allocation for non-national roads he thought it must be a misprint it was so bad.

“And that’s with 20% more traffic and an increase in building costs. That’s a cut back in any man’s language,” Cllr Townsend said.

Cllr Enda Nolan, however, was upbeat about the vast improvement to the county’s road in recent years.

“I remember a time when you’d be driving with your finger constantly to the windscreen such were the chippings flying everywhere, children falling on them and having to get stitches. It’s unprecedented the amount of good work that’s been done on the county roads,” Cllr Nolan added.

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