27 May 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan Co Council has received an additional allocation of €2,023,418 from the Dept of Transport for their roads restoration and improvement programme.
Details of the allocation, part of a €60 million roads programme introduced under the Government’s jobs initiative, were outlined at a special meeting of the Council on Monday.
But tensions arose among representatives from different electoral areas as to the manner of the funding’s expenditure.
The Dept had forwarded a list of regional and local road programmes on which the allocation was to be spent, based on priority projects previously submitted to them by the Co Council.
However, the Council members, after lengthy debate, voted to exercise their discretion to change the expenditure plan supplied, and to divide the €2 million+ among the county’s four roads areas on the basis of the mileage of road in each – the established pattern for distribution of funding by the Council in recent years.
This was opposed by councillors from Mid-Monaghan and Clones, whose road areas stood to benefit more from the expenditure outline supplied by the Dept.
But compromise proposals made by them were rejected.
Meetings of the Council’s four road area committees are to be held in the coming weeks to revise expenditure programmes in light of the additional funding.
Setting Monday’s debate in context, Acting Co Manager David Fallon said that comprehensive investment was needed in the county’s roads programme to protect the investment that had been made in recent years. This would take a major input from the public purse.
The Manager pointed out that the material costs associated with roads work were very volatile, as they were influenced by the oil market. Winter maintenance had added significant costs to the roads programme in recent years – it was estimated that nationally it would take funding of around €200 million to repair the damage caused by recent severe winters.
Mr Fallon said that local funding alone was not sufficient to maintain the regional and county roads network, and never had been. Funding to the level received in 2007-2008 was needed – it if was not received, there would be significant deterioration in three-four years’ time, and in six or seven years they would be back to the level of roads they had in the 1980s.

Full report in The Northern Standard

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