South Tipperary Co. Council is to make a direct appeal to Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly to plead its case in government for emergency €4.5m aid to repair the county’s flood and rain damaged roads following the “wettest summer in over a century”.
An invitation is winging its way to the North Tipperary based Minister of State in the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport to attend a special meeting of South Tipperary Co. Council where the elected members and management will impress upon him the need for this extra funding.
The Council initially estimated the cost of the damage at up to €3m but it emerged at its September meeting on Monday that the cost of repairing the county’s damaged roads will actually be €4.5m.
County Manager Billy McEvoy told councillors he had sent a letter to the principal in the Department of Transport seeking the additional €4.5m and sought advice from the elected members on using political influence to secure the funds.
“We have carried out some remedial works on a temporary basis but we can’t afford to do the (permanent) repairs ourselves and will have to get this additional funding,” he said.
Co. Council Senior Roads Engineer Peter Britton reported to the meeting that heavy rains on August 12,13 and 15 had left 62 roads severally damaged around the county. Road materials had been gouged out and surfaces stripped by the weather.
Eleven of the damaged roads became impassable and this included damage to a bridge at the Mardyke near Ballynonty.
He said most of these roads have been re-opened after temporary repairs were carried out.
“The Council reacted in the best way possible but unfortunately we had to restrict that activity because we are not able to spend money we don’t have.
“In the past we have always reacted to the loss of a road here and there but the scale of this event is such that we simply can’t afford to do the repairs without serious financial assistance,” Mr Britton added.
Co. Council Chairman Cllr John Crosse initially suggested that a Council deputation seek a meeting with the relevant Minister as soon as possible. But the Council agreed to instead pursue Fine Gael Cllr Michael Fitzgerald’s proposal to invite Minister of State Alan Kelly to a special meeting of the Council to discuss the issue.