Offaly Independent

Published: Friday, 3rd January, 2014 12:50pm

Cowen pushes for government audit of road repairs

Profile by Laura Ryder

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Local Fianna Fail TD Barry Cowen is urging the government to co-ordinate an audit of road repairs and maintenance that will need to be prioritised in the coming weeks and months following recent bad weather.

Deputy Cowen said heavy rainfall has increased problems for motorists, with surface water undermining the structure of roads and leading to potholes. Damaged footpaths will also need to be repaired for the safety of pedestrians, he added.

“The government announced an additional €50m in the budget to be spent on local and regional roads, taking the total budget to over €330m,” Deputy Cowen said. “The reality is local authorities across the country are short on cash and an additional funding resource from government is needed to support emergency road maintenance works.

“I believe the Department of the Environment and Local Government should work with local authorities and co-ordinate an audit to identify priority areas for repairs and maintenance. An additional funding package should then be put in place by the Department of Transport in conjunction with the Department of Environment to support local councils in carrying out the repairs.”

Deputy Cowen said the suggested audit and works would be about “national government supporting local government, about ensuring joined up thinking and putting resources to use where they will do the most good”.

“Some parts of the country have suffered sustained bad weather in recent weeks and many have a local road infrastructure that is already starved of investment,” he said.

“We are not talking about an expensive programme and I believe resources can be found within the €300m local and regional roads budget to ensure people have safe roads to travel and that drivers and pedestrians are not put at undue risk as a result of damaged roads.”

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