Fine Gael are still neglecting rural Ireland despite talks- Troy

‘Westmeath County Council left with funding to carry out works under LIS’

Local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy was commenting after he tabled a Parliamentary Question calling on the Minister to provide funding to the local authorities for the implementation of Local Improvement Schemes.

“The Ministers response is extremely disappointing and shows his lack of priority to rural Ireland. Whilst I am aware the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, the works cannot be carried out without the adequate funding and Westmeath County Council do not have adequate funding to provide this service also.”

“Unfortunately there are too many roads/ laneways in Westmeath, which are not maintained by the Council and which are in desperate need of repair, thus making it almost impossible for the local authorities to prioritise with their limited funding without adding an additional scheme.”

“The lack of funding and sheer lack of prioritisation by the Minister to properly address the needs of rural communities means families and home owners are being left stranded with deplorable roads which are destroying their cars. There needs to be a better system or procedure in place for homeowners on these private roads. They are currently stuck as they do not have the insurance to carry out the repair works themselves yet the Council do not take responsibility for these roads. The only option for people is funding under the Local Improvement Scheme, which the Minister is refusing to fund, and Westmeath County Council simply cannot cater for all the roads in need of repair with their current budget”.

“I am once again calling on the Minister to release funding to Westmeath County Council for the specific purpose of the Local Improvement Scheme.”
Ends: Aideen Ginnell

Note to editor:

Please see PQ below and response from Minister

Dáil Question
No: 584

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to provide funding to local authorities for local improvement schemes..
– Robert Troy.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd March, 2016.

Ref No:   5148/16     Proof:   601

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Paschal Donohoe

REPLY

As I outlined to the Deputy in my reply to PQ 3091 of 26 January 2016, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities’ own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) provides funding for road and laneways that Councils have not taken in charge, that is, private roads and landways. The maintenance and improvement of these roads is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant landowner.
The LIS for regional and local roads remains in place but my Department does not provide a separate grant allocation towards this scheme.  Instead local authorities may use a proportion of State grant funding for LIS should they wish to do so. 
There are no plans at present to revise the current arrangement. I take the view that local authorities are best placed to assess whether funding should be allocated to LIS.