Local communities desperate for work to be carried out on rural roads have been forced into handing over cash, labour or raw materials to ensure their roads are made safe.
Twenty one communities in South Tipperary applied to be involved in a new Community Involvement in Road Works Scheme announced by Junior Minister Alan Kelly which asks communities to fork out up to between 20% and 100% of the cost of the road maintenance costs if their road is to be repaired.
It just shows how desperate people are, people who had long ago given up hope that the potholes they had to negotiate every day would ever be repaired by the County Council. They are willing to put their hands in their pockets, pick up a shovel or donate raw material to the government to see that the roads are repaired.
Fourteen of the schemes will proceed this year as soon as the communities approved outline to the County Council how they wish to make their contribution.
If they can’t come up with the cash, the manpower or the tools then another community will be given the chance to pay up.
The new scheme came about after the Department of Transport contacted every local authority last year and asked it to seek out community groups, individuals and organisations who were prepared to contribute to the cost of fixing the potholes or other road repairs.
The councils then published details of the scheme and invited applications from communities prepared to contribute.
Under the plan unveiled a total of E10.6m is being provided by the government for road repairs at 377 locations. But the catch is that the communities taking up the scheme have to come up with another E4m in cash, manpower or tools.
The scheme applies to local road, including country lanes and boreens.
E500,000 of that funding has been secured by South Tipperary County Council.
Described by Alan Kelly as a “new and innovative reform of our road maintenance system” the scheme will be rolled out as residents in those communities are being asked to pay out their property tax.
This property tax was designed to provide revenue to cash strapped local authorities and one would have thought an efficient use of the money taken in would avoid the need to put the gun to the head of local communities to stump up the cash to enable them to get potholes repaired.