Independent TD Michael Lowry, has requested that all Tipperary’s newly elected TD’s unite to ensure that necessary future funding for rural roads be made an immediate priority for the 32nd Dáil.
Deputy Lowry has stated, “The Rural Road Network throughout county Tipperary is crumbling. The principle factor is the lack of investment and continuous decrease in monies made available to local County Councils. The National Roads Fund decreased from €608 million in 2008 to a current figure of €294 million. In 2011 both North and South Tipperary got a total of €45 million for roads. In 2015 this had fallen to €28 million, with a further €3 million of reductions this year.
This decrease in funding has had a huge negative impact on rural communities, with many of our roads becoming extremely hazardous. Daily struggles are arising for rural school buses, and other essential service providers. In many cases these erosive conditions are creating obstacle courses which are bordering on the impassable. Drivers find themselves in dangerous situations where they are forced to drive erratically to avoid deepening potholes. Each day my office receives countless complaints from vehicle owners, where their vehicles are being damaged, tyres have been ripped off and issues are arising with steering and suspension, brought about by potholes which rapidly merge to form giant craters.
The people of Tipperary are extremely frustrated with this outgoing government and justifiably point out that as citizen’s they pay heavy car taxes, numerous charges and levies, yet the horrendous state of rural roads tolerated on a day-to-day basis in Tipperary would never be permitted to exist in our capital city. It is evident that this current administration continues to cultivate a two track society; one which offers fast urban centres, while rural Ireland is permitted to remain abandoned.
I have spoken to the CEO of Tipperary County Council, requesting that an inventory of all roads, which need repair and replacement works right across the county, be immediately established and should include reasonable estimates for all repairs and refurbishments.
I will work alongside my elected colleagues, in seeking the appropriate funding for this crisis, while exerting my influence on the introduction of a proper roads network program into the future. I have also requested that the management of the council ensure that they get satisfactory value and return for all money spent, while all future work practices remain up to a recognised standard, using quality material and ensuring proper road drainage is put in place.
The total neglect of our rural roads now requires urgent attention and the present scenario of drastically reduced infrastructural funding must be immediately reversed,” concluded Deputy Lowry.