A further €300,000 has been granted by the Department of Transport for flood-damaged roads in Westmeath.
The funding is in addition to the €3.3 million allocated to the county in the wake of the recent flooding which caused extensive damage to the region during the winter period.
The funding has been welcomed be Fine Gael Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke: “I welcome this funding from the Government, which highlights that although the worst of the flooding has passed, the Department of Transport are still prioritising the area and the safety of our road network,” he said. “This second tranche of funding will be put towards improving the roads which were worst hit by the severe flooding we witnessed from last December onwards.”
Deputy Burke highlighted the hard work being done by the Westmeath county councillors and employees on the ground in relation to the after-effects of flooding, and spoke on the CFRAM report which has put forward various solutions to be implemented so that the devastation witnessed last winter and spring is not repeated: “I am monitoring the ongoing consultation and CFRAM report and am pushing for certain works to be implemented now - such as the targeted dredging scheme,” he said.
“I am aware there a suite of options put forward by the report, but this dredging is undoubtedly needed and initial planning could be started now in relation to the granting of environmental licenses, which is a time-consuming process. We must be smart about this. My other concern is that both rural and urban areas must be given equal weight and attention - there is a danger that rural Westmeath could be forgotten about amid all the works which require attention in the towns.
“The rural road network is vital for thousands of commuters, farmers, and those who are further away from vital services so I will be pushing for this sector to be given the resources they badly need. The Fine Gael Government is in full support of these endeavours and I continue to liaise with the council, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Minister to ensure that solutions put forward are put in place and adequately resourced. If we experience adverse weather conditions next winter, I want to be 100 per cent sure that we have all available defences put in place and resources to hand.”