Rural roads funding questioned

November 20, 2012

Sinn Fein councillors, Colman Burns, Charlie Casey and Mick Murphy questioned the issue of rural roads funding in a recent meeting with Roads Service representatives.

The councillors had called the meeting to outlining issues in relation to roads throughout the Newry and Mourne constituency, and to ascertain upcoming Roads Service projects for 2013.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Burns revealed they had met with Cindy Noble, section Engineer with Roads Service and pressed the urgent need to address the B30 road which runs from Crossmaglen to Newry.

Mr Burns described the key roads current condition as  “a constant reminder of the lack of investment historically in our area.”

He continued, “The question must be asked – where has the funding gone that was promised by DRD Minister Danny Kennedy to be used on rural roads?”

The councillor was referring to the £37.5 million of additional funding for road maintenance and transport, which was welcomed by Danny Kennedy back in June this year.  Mr Kennedy had stated at the time that some £20 million of the reallocated budget would be spent on much needed resurfacing, targeted primarily on local roads.

Councillor Burns added,  “Although we warmly welcome all funding that goes towards our road infrastructure, we expressed our feeling that any extra monies that are allocated always seems to come very late in the year. This has a major effect on contractors who, quite often, are forced to pay off employees in December when funding runs out. Then, when extra monies become available in late January or February, there is a huge surge to get the work completed before the end of the financial year.

“The fact that Mr Kennedy promised an additional £37.5 million seems to be coming by a similar route and has yet to filter down to Roads Division, and shows a lack of efficiency that needs to be addressed immediately.”