NRA made "dog's dinner" of dealing with cold snap in Longford

The National Roads Authority have made a "dog's dinner" of providing sufficient supplies of salt to cash strapped local authorties during the recent cold spell, a Longford County Councillor has claimed.

The National Roads Authority have made a "dog's dinner" of providing sufficient supplies of salt to cash strapped local authorties during the recent cold spell, a Longford County Councillor has claimed.

In a blistering attack on the NRA at a meeting of Longford County Council before Christmas, Cllr Sean Farrell said the unanticipated severity of bad weather had only served to underline the NRA's shortcomings in dealing with the problem.

He said the council were blameless given the fact salt distribution and its overall management were now in the hands of an externally led organisation.

"I think the NRA have to be really strongly criticised on this and they have been caught on the hop," he said as councillors convened for the last local authority meeting of the year. "Not only are local roads suffering but regional roads are suffering as well."

The Newtowncashel representative said the council had coped with the confusion admirably by keeping main roads and more isolated routes in the south of the county open.

"I think it's important that villages like Newtowncashel are remembered as it means we are accessible," he said.

Directing much of her anger at NRA head of communications, Sean O'Neill, Cllr Peggy Nolan said a combination of mixed signals and lingering doubts about national salt supply levels had changed her own impression of the NRA.

"Listening to Mr O'Neill you would think the whole country was at lockdown stage. It wasn't, Dublin city was. The Demesne (Longford town estate) where I live and Cllr Sexton lives in was like a skating rink. Again, it goes back to the same thing, we have to look after ourselves," she said.

Cllr Denis Glennon said the number of road users who had overtaken him whilst driving was nothing short of "disgraceful".

"I had individuals pass me on roads that were nothing short of skating rinks. These people are putting the lives of people at risk and it's just mindlesness. You can't even get the number of these cars because you are concentrating on your own driving," he said.

Cllr Martin Mulleady was however quick to point out that limited salt supplies meant not all roads could be treated. "My concerns would be about what happens going forward. I think the message has to be put out there that these back roads, not all of them can be treated. It's just not feasible," he added.