Astonishing that cuts in road maintenance funding is ‘news’ to Taoiseach- Murphy

Longford Leader Reporter

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Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to reverse massive cuts of up to 30% to local authority funding for the maintenance of national and secondary roads in 2018. Deputy Murphy raised the matter under Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil yesterday, Wednesday.

Deputy Murphy said the N4 running between Dublin and Sligo was a national road as was the N5 linking Longford town with Westport and both were included in the national plan for road improvement. But he said Transport Infrastructure Ireland had informed Roscommon County Council on Monday of a 17 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in road maintenance funding.

“That’s news to me and I will certainly check it out,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Fianna Fáil Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy.
Mr Varadkar said he “can’t understand why there would be a cut of that nature in roads maintenance,” when the overall transport budget has been increased for next year and every year up to 2021.

Deputy Murphy said that the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) took the extraordinary step of writing to Local Authorities to warn them that the Ordinary Maintenance Allocation for roads will plummet by 30% in 2018.The overall national road current expenditure budget for 2018 is set to fall by 15% when compared to 2017.

“This simply beggars belief- The Minister for Transport Shane Ross has been busy exclaiming that he secured an increase in funding for his Department in Budget 2018. Now it transpires that officials in TII are writing to Local Authorities to warn them that funding for roads maintenance next year will be dramatically lower than what was allocated in 2017.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Deputy Murphy appealed for the “massive cut” to be reversed as quickly as possible. “This will have consequences for safety and other issues along those roads,” he said. Deputy Murphy asked if other councils were affected.Taoiseach Varadkar said: “I will have the matter checked out.” Deputy Murphy said that it was astonishing that neither the Taoiseach or the Minister for Transport seemed to be aware of the cutbacks to local authority funding.