Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has criticised the roads programme adopted for 2014 by Cavan County Council. Referring to the failure of Government to provide proper funding for the maintenance and improvement of local and regional roads and to provide specific funding for the Local Improvement Scheme, the West Cavan Councillor further criticised the decision of the Fine Gael Councillors to take a further € 260,000 from our Roads Budget to provide a limited Local Improvement Scheme.
‘The reality is that since 2008 the level of funding from Central Government for local and regional roads has fallen by about 47%. The Council’s own contribution has fallen by about 40% in the same period. This Government has abolished specific grants and restoration grants. The advice from our Engineers is that we have about half of the money we need to maintain the existing roads network. Everyone in the County will recognise that the there is a clear and obvious deterioration in our road surfaces. That is the background to the Roads Programme for 2014.’
Councillor Feeley complemented the Council Executive and the local engineers and roads staff for their ongoing efforts. He stated that despite limited resources they continue to do good work and get value for money on behalf of the people of the county.
‘Good work will be done in County Cavan in 2014, the local area staff, the engineers and the Executive will make sure of that but we as Councillors, and in particular the Fine Gael Group have left them with less money to repair potholes, surface dress our roads, complete drainage, repair footpaths, maintain amenity areas and provide matching funding for Smarter Travel/Greenway Projects. That is the stark reality.’
Councillor Feeley noted the detailed discussion on the Local Improvement Scheme. He emphasised that he and all of his Fianna Fáil colleagues fully supported the Scheme and in so doing noted that the previous government provided almost € 400,000 in 2010 as a specific grant from central government but that the present Government has abolished the Scheme.
‘The LIS is a vital scheme, one that was always funded from central government. It is a disgrace and a shame that it has not being properly funded so that the almost 100 applicants in our own county can have their lanes done. We now have this gimmick of taking money from our public regional and local roads to fund minuscule number of lanes. It is a damning indictment of the Fine Gael Councillors that they and their Oireachtas Representatives have failed to secure funding from Government for the LIS, they say its important, let Minister Hogan and Varadkar and this Government put their money where their mouth is and fund it, rather than making a bad situation on our local and regional roads worse.’
Fine Gael have forced Cavan County Council to introduce a ‘pro-pothole’ roads programme in 2014 and that is a sad situation concluded Feeley.