Councillors seek €4.3m extra funding for Limerick roads after hard winter

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Cllr John Sheahan was speaking at a full meeting of Limerick City and County Council

Cllr John Sheahan was speaking at a full meeting of Limerick City and County Council

AN extra €4.3m would be needed to bring Limerick’s roads up to standard following the damage inflicted on them by a very hard winter, Fine Gael leader in the council, Cllr John Sheahan has pointed out.

Speaking on Monday at a full meeting of Limerick City and County Council, he called for  additional funds to be sought from  the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government “and get that delivered” for Limerick.

The motion  came from the six councillors of the Newcastle West Municipal District where they had asked for an audit to be done to assess what funds were needed to restore roads damaged through severe weather.

“Some of our roads are borderline impassable,” Cllr Liam Galvin said.  

“The surface is gone from some of our roads.”

And he identified heavy truckloads of forest-cleared timber as part of the problem.

“The roads are not capable of carrying the loads,” he said, arguing that the local authority should be billing the private forest companies for road maintenance.

“With climate change, we can expect more exceptional weather in times to come,” his fellow Abbeyfeale councillor said.

Roads are being flooded because water tables were not kept open, he while another Abbeyfeale councillor Seamus Browne said that  urgency was needed on the issue.

“We are asking for a special case to be made by the chief executive,” Cllr Michael Collins, chairman of the Newcastle West Municipal District said while Cllr  Jerome Scanlan declared: “We badly need money and maybe we need more people at this point,” Cllr Jerome Scanlan said.

But councillors from the other municipal districts, made clear they were facing similar road  problems that required extra cash.

“We would like to piggy-back on this motion,” Cllr Eddie Ryan FF, Cappamore Kilmallock said while Cllr Kevin Sheahan, Adare Rathkeale declared: “The roads are no longer bad. They are dangerous.”

But he challenged Fine Gael councillors to ensure that additional funds were obtained.

 “I don’t know where the recovery is. If there is a recovery, will ye get us extra money for our roads?” he taunted.

His fellow Adare Rathkeale councillor Richard O’Donoghue argued that the policy of bringing  46 tonne trucks hauling stone over almost 40 miles from another county was contributing to the damage on the roads.

The solution was a return to an older policy of using local stone for roads, stone which he said would be of superior quality.

Cllr Noel Gleeson complained that tarring was no longer up to standard.