Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said the €11.4 million roads funding for County Roscommon falls way short of what is needed to repair the road network in a county which suffered utter devastation in the aftermath of recent flooding.
Eugene Murphy raised the issue in the Dáil during this week as part of Private Members Business, saying “The Roscommon/Galway area was totally devastated by flooding last year and it is estimated by council officials that the total cost to repair roads and bridges in County Roscommon alone is in the region of €11.5 million yet the council only received an allocation of €6.5 million in flood relief works which leaves a major deficit of €5 million.”
Deputy Murphy also raised this issue of flood relief funding with Minister Sean Canney in the Dáil last week.
“Roscommon County Council received €4.9 million in 2016 for non-national roads but they spent €5.3 million. The council also received €550,000 for national roads from the Department of Transport /TII in 2016 while last Winter the Department of Environment allocated a sum of €600,000 for emergency flooding for purchase of sand bags, raising of roads etc so the total amount would come to just over €6 million. It is estimated that the council need in the region of €11 million in total to repair the damage caused by flooding to ensure that such devastation does not reoccur throughout the county yet just over €6 million has been allocated to date which is wholly inadequate.
“Funding is still needed to address ongoing issues in the Castleplunkett area where the council now have to go down the route of a CPO and a range of arterial drainage works also need to be carried out at various points around the county- Funding is also needed for a regional road in Curraghaboy- while funding also needs to be allocated to address flooding blackspots at a number of individual houses throughout the region,” said Deputy Murphy.
“While I welcome the allocation of €11.4 million for overall roads funding in Roscommon and acknowledge it is about a 4% increase but it still leaves us with a deficit of €5 million This county has been utterly devastated by flooding and even with an increase of 4% in funding we are still way behind the allocation for the East coast. There are many roads still not passable in County Roscommon and parts of Galway. The Senior Engineers and dedicated staff in Roscommon County Council who are contacted by politicians in the early hours of the morning got up and went beyond the call of duty to help people during the flooding crisis and these are the people who submitted the plans and told the Department what was necessary to repair the roads system and yet they are being dismissed. We still have a major deficit of €5 million.
“I have called on the Minister to revisit this and look at the possibility of bringing back the Local Improvement Schemes and the CLAR programme which was brought in by Fianna Fáil as something positive which helped improve life in rural Ireland,” concluded Eugene Murphy.