Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Robert Troy, has said that his party will “pull the plug” on the current government if it does not take steps to improve rural and regional road conditions.
Deputy Troy was speaking at a Dáil debate on Tuesday night, where a Fianna Fáil motion calling for an extra €163 million to be invested in regional roads was discussed.
Speaking before the debate, Deputy Troy said: “Many regional and local roads are in a dreadful state as a result of the Government’s failure to invest in roads infrastructure. A recent report carried out by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC ) found that almost 70 per cent of regional roads have serious structural and surface defects. This has led to serious safety concerns for road users and increased maintenance costs to motorists.
“Over the last five years the Government has on average provided local authorities with less than half the amount of funding they need to maintain their roads. This is despite a commitment made in the Programme for Government to increase the capital budget for regional and local roads by approximately 50 per cent.”
There are 7,959 kilometres of national road in Ireland, including motorways. However, there are 90,572 kilometres of local and regional road.
At the debate, Deputy Troy added that the issue was not simply one of Dublin versus rural Ireland, as many roads in the capital are also classified as regional or local, and are in need of repairs.
Transport minister Shane Ross said that he has seen poor road conditions in counties like Westmeath and Offaly first hand, and indicated that the Government will not oppose Fianna Fáil’s motion.