I welcome the announcement by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, that the Government has approved an additional €1.9 million for Clare County Council for regional and local roads. This is part of an €50 million expenditure for regional and local roads in 2013 announced by Minister Varadkar aimed at improving and making safer our roads.

I am delighted that this funding has been sanctioned for Clare County Council. This additional funding is to be used primarily for surface restoration works but can also be used for safety schemes. Motorists and road users in Clare will welcome the fact that their roads will be safer and in better condition.

I commend Minister Varadkar for making these funds available despite the financial constraints that the Government is operating under. His approach of using available funding for road repair and safety is sensible. This funding will add significantly to road safety in Clare and further improve the local and regional roads across the county.

The funding may be used be used for particular safety schemes that need to be progressed urgently. Should the Council deem this necessary they can make an application to the Department of Transport to use some funds on that basis.

Whilst individual local authorities are responsible under law for the upkeep and maintenance of regional and local roads, Exchequer funding supplements expenditure in this area. This additional funding has to be spent by the Council this year, which is to be welcomed as it means the works can be carried out soon.

It is important to stress the importance to local authority members and officials of the importance of investing their own resources in their road network. The allocations for 2014 will be considered later this year. However, the allocation to each local authority will, in part, reflect the proportion of how much each local authority spends of their discretionary income on their regional and local road network.