ROADS would be the main casualty if the county council’s funding is cut, Cllr Kevin Sheahan warned this week.
His comments came following a report in the Sunday Business Post which claimed that Limerick County Council could be left with a €2m shortfall because so many householders had not paid the new household charge. “I am very disappointed to hear that a local authority that has been cut to the bone in terms of resources would now suffer a cutback in the region of €2m this year because not everybody paid their tax.”
However, the new temporary county manager Gerry Behan said the newspaper report was only speculation. He was unable to say exactly how much money had been raised in the new tax in the county as counting of the money was still continuing.
He stressed however that nothing had been communicated to the council about any cuts in funding.
Cllr Kevin Sheahan, however, speaking at a meeting of Rathkeale area councillors, said he believed the newspaper report was “fairly accurate”.
Because of the Croke Park agreement, he said, staff numbers would not be cut and he welcomed this. However, he was concerned that it was the roads budget which would be hit hardest.
“Significant monies were invested in our road network in the last 15 years,” he said. “That investment should be maintained and we should not allow the condition of our roads to lapse back to the situation in the 1980s.”
However, he insisted, this issue should not become a political football. “If it becomes political, this case is lost,” he said.
Cllr Stephen Keary however said it was very presumptious of the newspaper to say what it did. “A lot of late monies are coming through,” he said. “I would hold my breath on that one.”
Cllr John Sheahan acknowledged that this year at least, the roads budget had got a hit.
Senior roads engineer Pat O’Neill told councillors that for every euro spent on maintenance, ten euro is saved on construction.