Doubling of district’s road maintenance budget welcomed

June 20, 2016

South Armagh MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed news that the 2016/2017 budget for roads maintenance in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area will be more than doubled from last year’s allocation.

The news was announced during last week by new Infrastructure Minister, Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard.

Ms Fearon said she is delighted that Mr Hazzard had wasted no time in living up to Sinn Féin’s commitment to tackle the state of the area’s roads.

“We’ve already seen other Sinn Féin Ministers make immediate impacts in their new roles and I’m delighted to see Chris continue that trend with his announcement that the budgets for 2016/2017 road maintenance works have been agreed and the opening allocation for structural maintenance is nearly £3.7million – more than double the £1.6million available in 2015,” she said.

“This was a commitment Chris made in his first few weeks as Minister, recognising the deplorable state of rural roads across the north.  This will be particularly welcome in my own constituency where the state of the roads is a major concern for people as it affects not just road safety but also causes damage to cars, affects businesses and deters people from visiting the area.”

Slieve Gullion Councillor Terry Hearty said the announcement was a very welcome one. “It will come as a huge relief to people in the area to hear that something is being done to tackle the toxic legacy left in this area by former Roads Minister Danny Kennedy,” the councillor said.

“A major reason the roads went to wrack and ruin here was because of a lack of basic maintenance so this announcement of a significant increase in the maintenance budget will be very welcome news.”

Minister Hazzard revealed the announcement was not a one-off and would form part of a continued commitment to rural roads.

“In the months ahead I will continue to identify and prioritise structural maintenance schemes and look to secure additional funding from the Department of Finance to have them completed,” he said.