The Roads Programme for 2019 was agreed at the March Meeting of Cavan County Council providing a total of € 12 million on Local and Regional Roads, € 7 million for the National Road Network and € 269,254 under the Local Improvement Scheme.
‘Every euro spent in the County on our road network is to be welcomed but the this Road Works Programme is nothing to boast about. The allocation for Local and Regional Roads has risen to € 12.8 million well below the high of € 18.6 million in 2008. The increase does little more than keep with inflation on labour and material and is about half of what engineers estimate we require to maintain our road network, never mind bring about the kind of improvements needed.’
Fianna Fil Councillor also recognised the great work done by the staff dealing with roads, from the staff in Road Design, the local area offices and the staff on the ground who together with contractors carry out the work of maintaining the roads.
‘Whilst we as Councillors agreed the Road Works Programme, we must recognise that this is one of a series of Road Works Programmes which underinvest in our roads. The deteriorating road conditions in the County are clear to be seen to anyone who travels around the county.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley highlighted the € 269,379 allocated under the Local Improvement Scheme.
‘This announcement is € 30,000 less than the first tranche of funding provided in 2018. It is an insult to those on the waiting list in Cavan. 225 applicants are on file in Cavan, on each of these lanes there are many homes and farms affected by a poor standard of road. The Council is currently processing applications lodged in 2008. The allocation is an embarrassment and those in Government should be ashamed of it.’
The latest revelation that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) will cost multiples of the initial estimated cost and may not proceed are just the latest twist the sorry tale that is the provision of Broadband to rural communities throughout this region and the country,’ stated Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that the decision had to be made as to whether or not the NBP would proceed or not would be made before Easter.
‘A National Broadband Plan is an absolute necessity. There are still over half a million Irish households and businesses in rural areas and also in towns and villages without access to a fast and reliable broadband service; something that is not a luxury but an absolute necessity for the survival of these communities. Massive over-spends did not prevent the Government pressing ahead with the National Children’s Hospital and many other large projects but when something that is rural based it seems that however essential it is, as far as the Government is concerned optional.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that all Oireachtas representatives in the region must unite to demand the prompt rollout of the NBP, pointing out that the deadline of a plan announced in 2012 is now rolling out beyond 2023.
Fianna Fáil Councillor John Paul Feeley and Chairperson of the Economic SPC of Cavan County Council has reacted with disappointment to the announcement of only € 146,000 for projects in County Cavan under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) announced Thursday 14th February 2019.
‘Cavan County Council had put forward comprehensive applications for Virginia, Cootehill, Ballyjamesduff and Kingscourt, plans carefully developed in conjunction with local councillors, community groups and local businesses. These plans were done in line with the Local Economic and Community Plan approved by the County Council and the Local Community Development Committee. In response to all of that Minister Ring provided a total allocation of € 146,000 for County Cavan of € 62 million nationally announced to much hype by the Minister along with Minister Humphrey and Minister of State Canney. To say that I am underwhelmed by this announcement is an understatement. It is a very poor allocation. It puts the plans of the Council to start the regeneration of some of our towns back and also delays the plans for the other towns throughout the Cavan which we as a local authority had intended to progress in coming years.’
‘Amongst the most progressive plans was that to develop an extension to the Ramor Theatre, a new library, car park and amenity for the Town. The funding available to date will not complete this exciting project.’
“ I am hugely disappointed for the towns involved and the other towns and villages which should be included in years to come. I am disappointed for the Council officials who have put so much effort into these plans and most especially I am disappointed for the volunteers in these towns who helped craft these applications and who take up the challenge of community economic and social development on a daily basis. This accountment is an insult to them.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley pointed out that he had asked the Fine Gael members of the Council to organise a cross party delegation along with officials from the County Council to meet Minster Ring in advance of he and his Department making a decision on this announcement but that meeting never took place.
‘Despite having a Minister, Senator and seven County Councillors in the Government Party, it seems County Cavan has little influence in the corridors of power at present.’
Fianna Fail Councillor, John Paul Feeley has joined calls for the Government to intervene as a matter of urgency to end the nurses strike so that the nurses can get back to do the work that they want to do and the people who have long-awaited appointments or who need to access the health system can do so.
‘We are facing into the second day of industrial action by the Irish Nurses & Midwifes Association (INMO). That is absolutely the right of that Union and its members and I can see the very strong case that they have for changes to their work conditions and the urgent need to recruit more nurses and bring about a proper pay and career structure for the nursing profession.’
Some weeks ago the Dáil passed a motion calling for the establishment of a Commission on Nursing and Midwifery to examine the wider issues facing the nursing profession to be chaired independently and bring forward detailed proposals for the future but the Government has not moved to establish this Commission.
‘The reality is that this, like every other industrial dispute will be resolved. It is a matter of time. Our already under-resourced and creaking health system cannot cope with the existing industrial action never mind what will happen with its escalation. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Health, the two great media darlings of Ireland seem to have an answer for everything seem bereft when it comes to the Nurses Strike. It is time for an urgent and comprehensive engagement by both of them on the part of the Government.’
Councillor Feeley confirmed that he has tabled a motion for the next meeting of Cavan County Council calling on the Taoiseach to intervene to resolve the current industrial dispute.
5th February 2019