Action needed to avert weather crisis on Clare roads – Carey

Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has today said that many Clare roads are in a very poor state, and that co-ordinated action is required if driving condition are to improve.

Deputy Carey has learned that salt and grit stocks are running low and that, given the number of secondary roads in County Clare, many people worried about the ability of authorities to deal effectively with the impact of the weather.

Deputy Carey has also again challenged Clare County Council on how they expect to carry out planned road improvement works given the current weather difficulties.

In recent weeks, Deputy Carey has been consistently raising the issue of unspent road funding (currently totalling over €4 million) and the logistics of carrying out intended works at this time of year.

Deputy Carey said:

“The current extreme weather conditions are having a huge impact nationally, and of course Clare is no different. With these conditions likely to last into next week, there is concern at how prepared we are for this extended cold spell.

I am aware that a new national Emergency Response Co-ordination Committee is now overseeing the dispersal of salt nationally. Therefore I would hope that lessons will be learned from the experience last year.

It is also very important, particularly given the economic climate, that the streets and footpaths of our main towns and villages are kept clear. Businesses have had a tough enough year as it is without making accessibility a factor for shoppers in the weeks before Christmas.

In the past weeks I have raised the issue of unspent road funding for County Clare. At various times this has totalled millions of euro, and current stands at over €4 million according to figures sent to me by the department of Transport. It is nonsensical to me that so much road works would be left until the last weeks of the year to complete.

Clare County Council have questioned repeatedly the figures I have obtained from the Department of Transport. They have also stated that all monies allocated to County Clare will be accessed and spent. I hope this is the case.

Yet, I note that in figures I have obtained, over €280,000 was unclaimed between 2007 and 2008.

Perhaps Clare County Council could explain in detail how the current extreme weather will impact on their planned road works over the coming weeks.”