Tipperary road network needs €196m investment to make it acceptable

Eamonn Lacey

Reporter:

Eamonn Lacey

Tipperary road network needs €196m investment to make it acceptable

Tipperary's road network needs a €196m investment to restore roads to an acceptable standard after ten years of funding shortfalls.

The 5,700km Tipperary road network is urgently in need of significant  investment members of Tipperary County Council were informed on Monday.

Marcus O Connor , Director for Roads told members that "chronic under investment" was the reason for the condition of the roads ."There are many areas in the county for all intents  and purposes inaccessible as a result" he told the meeting.

The roads director said the state of the roads was the single most important issue  holding back rural development.

"There has been a legacy of under investment for ten years.In a downturn you can get away with a cut in funding for a year or two but you wont get away with   it for ten years" said the roads director.

The roads crisis facing the county was generating huge anger and frustration  among motorists councillors told officials.

Cllr. David Dunne said the council could  be acing a motor tax non payment revolution because  motorists in the county just had enough. A five year programme was needed to repair the roads in the county and he called on the government to provide the funds.

Cllr. Jim Ryan said people are now asking what is the point of paying motor tax now given the deplorable condition of the roads.

"I have never seen such a roads crisis in Tipperary" said Cllr.Ryan and it was down to lack of investment from this and previous governments.

"The TDs have lost touch, they need to realise this is a crisis. The road network in this county is unacceptable" said Cllr.Ryan.

Cllr. Imelda Goldsboro said the roads in the Slieveardagh were "gone past the point of rescue". The poor condition of the roads was having knock on effect on farming and tourism in the area.

Cllr David Doran suggested going down the private route if needs be. People’s cars were being damaged every day and they should get proper redress to get their cars fixed.

Cllr. Martin Browne said €196m was needed for Tipperary roads and motorists paying their car tax deserved progress to be made.

Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald said he was surprised to hear a Sinn Fein members recommending going down the private route. Cllr. Fitzgerald said the staff of the council should be increased. .

"I don't want to see the roads privatised" said Cllr.Fitzgerald who said funding had been increased  for roads in Tipperary every year since Tipperary County Council was established following amalgamation.

Cllr. Seamus Morris  said he did not agree with the council going down the private route on roads.

"To bring our roads in Tipperary  to a decent standard we need close to €200m, the people whose roads are not going to be restored, are we going to ask them to pay motor tax. The staff can only make do with what they have, we need more investment" asked Cllr.Morris.

Cllr. Pat English said the council should go "cap in hand " to the minister in a united effort to secure funding.

"We are now playing catch up. The roads are in an atrocious condition. I don't agree with  privatising the roads" said Cllr. English.

County Manager Joe MacGrath said there was a €196 investment deficit in Tipperary's road network.There had been an increase in funding for roads in the last two years  but prior to that there had been years of under investment.