"Some Tipperary roads are worse than Syria", says councillor.
It was easier to cross the River Suir bridge in Thurles during the War of Independence than it has been over the past few weeks, thanks to the inexcusable condition of roads in the town, according to Sinn Fein councillor David Doran.
Describing the street conditions in the Cathedral Town as being worse than Syria, Cllr Doran told members of Tipperary County Council this Monday that all members of the local authority should be permitted to meet with Transport Infrastructure Ireland at the annual briefing which will take place in late January/early February.
“The condition of the streets in Thurles, especially the River Suir bridge, was an embarassment to me as a public representative. We were all out encouraging people to come to Thurles to do their Christmas shopping and yet the streets were worse than Syria.
“It would have been easier to cross the Suir Bridge during the War of Independence, than it has been over the last few weeks. It is totally unacceptable and somebody has to take responsibility for it,” Cllr Doran said.
However, despite the issues highlighted in Thurles, there was widespread welcome for very significant allocations for Tipperary Town and for Golden, as well as an allocation of €654,000 for Slievenamon Road in Thurles to be totally overhauled.
Director of Services Mr Marcus O'Connor said that the annual meeting with TII in January would follow the format of the last number of years and shot down Cllr Dorans suggestion that any councillor who wishes to attend be permitted to do so - the Chairpersons of the Municipal Districts, Chairperson of the County Council, and officials are the agreed representatives from Tipperary who attend the meeting. He added that the success of the previous meetings is now being recognised in the allocations received – a sentiment echoed by Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joe MacGrath.
“I am very much in touch with the conditions of the roads of Tipperary and I accept totally that they are not in the condition that they should be – I have said this in the past. This is as a result of the reduced allocations over the last five-six years, but we are now seeing for the first time, an increase in the allocations and this is to be welcome and acknowledged. We are going to see improvements in road conditions over the next while and we need to try and do all in our power to find further investment and allocations for our roads,” Mr MacGrath said.
Cllr Jim Ryan had suggested raising a loan to undertake the necessary resurfacing works required for the roads, but this too was shot down by Mr O'Connor who said that the department would not sanction such actions for ongoing maintainence.
While the TII has taken major criticism for the condition of roads in Thurles town and other towns around the county also, Cllr Seamus Hanafin pointed out that the loss of the block grant for urban areas following the wipeout of the Town Councils is where the real issue rests. “Instead of fighting with the TII, we should be writing to the department to try and have the block grant resored for urban roads. In Thurles alone, we have lost €500,000 over the last three years for streets and footpaths – that would have made a huge difference to the urban roads and it is the same in all the other towns,” Cllr Hanafin said.
The allocations for Golden and Tipperary town were welcomed broadly by members including Cllrs Roger Kennedy, John Crosse, Denis Leahy and Michael Fitzgerald who said that he too had been embarrassed by the condition of the roads in these areas, similar to the embarrassment felt in Thurles and Borrisokane in recent times.