‘Scrooge’ NRA could ruin Christmas for county’s traders!

22 December 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The National Roads Authority were cast in the role of Scrooge at Friday’s meeting of Monaghan Co Council when members expressed anger and disappointment at the imposition of severe restrictions by the State body on local authorities’ use of salt and other road-clearing material during the prevailing Arctic weather conditions.

Fears were expressed that the county’s traders would see their business plummet during the vital pre-Christmas period because of the poor road conditions caused by returning snowfall and freezing temperatures.

“How can we justify adopting a Budget today and asking our ratepayers to pay rates when we can’t produce the best services to allow the public to gain access to their businesses?” Colr Owen Bannigan asked during the course of the debate.

A proposal from Colr Bannigan that the Council call on Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey to permit local authorities to source their own supplies of salt rather than have to acquire them through the NRA received the backing of the members.

Sean Conlon proposed that the Council write to the Health Service Executive asking them what measures were being put in place to ensure that home help personnel were able to attend to vulnerable patients during periods of inclement winter weather. This was also agreed.

Members supported a proposal from P J O’Hanlon that a meeting be sought with the NRA in relation to what Colr O’Hanlon described as the current “crisis situation” in the county.

And councillors adopted the proposal of Heather Humphreys that a stockpile of salt be purchased by the Council to enable it to address future reoccurrences of the inclement weather. Colr Humphreys also called on the Council to evolve a plan in May or June of next year that would leave it in a position to deal adequately with such weather conditions in the subsequent winter.

Opening the debate, Co Mayor Jackie Crowe declared it “an absolute disgrace” that the regional roads were not being salted or gritted. This was the most important week for the business community in the county leading up to Christmas, and he feared there would be less rates being collected by the Council next year and a lot of businesses closing.

Emphasising that he was not casting any aspersion on Monaghan Co Council, the Mayor said the Irish Transport Hauliers Association had praised Monaghan as one of the best counties in Ireland to travel through during the icy road conditions, but this year he feared that not only would the business community suffer but there would be accidents and fatalities on the road.

“We have to do something drastic,” Mayor Crowe stated.

Full story in The Northern Standard

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