Following the announcement of almost €12 million roads funding for Mayo by the National Roads Authority, Mayo Fine Gael Deputy Michael Ring has criticised the allocation. The Westport deputy told the Mayo Advertiser: “What we need now is less spinning from the Government and more tar on the roads. We’ve had enough of it. The NRA funding has gone up by around €220,000 this year, but a lot of that is down to the N5 Bohola to Westport road.”
Dep Ring accused the Government of “pure spin” saying: “The roads in this county are the single biggest issue today. I’ve had more calls from people about roads than anything else, what we need is a lot more money. After the winter we’ve had it’s going to take a lot more than we’ve been given to sort them out. We’ve had enough spin, what we need now is tar.”
The Fine Gael whip on Mayo County Council has also expressed concerns over the primary and secondary roads funding for 2010. But the local roads funding is the real concern for Cllr Joe Mellett, the amount which has not yet been announced.
“We are expecting a cut of around eight per cent in the grants this year, but it’s looking like it could be worse. The council have been told they can spend up to 25 per cent of the budget they got for local roads in 2009 until they get the figures for funding for this year. But it looks like it will be a deeper cut than expected. These figures should be available to the council and us by now, it’s not good enough we need to plan for the year,” said Cllr Mellett.
Cllr Mellet also had a number of issues with the allocations given by the NRA to the major routes in Mayo saying: “If you look at the annual resurfacing grant for the national primary roads for 2010, the NRA have allocated only €37,000 this year. It was €159,000 the year before. After the winter we’ve had, €37,000 would barely allow the council to start the machines on the road. Also there has been €2.2 million allocated to the Westport to Bohola road, while the Westport to Castlebar road is in need of an upgrade. There is nothing wrong with the Castlebar to Bohola road at the minute and some of that money could be put to use elsewhere.”
The NRA has allocated a total of €11,891,334 for the road works programmes in Mayo for the coming year. The allocation is broken down to €9,836,134 for improvement works on the national primary and secondary roads, and €2,055,200 for maintenance works on the national primary and secondary roads. The allocation for 2010 is a slight rise on the amount allocated by the NRA for 2009 which was €11,669,188 - a net increase of €224,146 for the year.
Earlier this week, Fianna Fáil TD and Minister for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary welcomed the funding: “The overall allocation of almost €12 million for County Mayo is a significant investment in the county’s road infrastructure and once again shows this Government’s commitment to progressing projects that will enhance quality of life for people, connect communities, and help position Mayo as an attractive place for investment. Better roads facilitate greater competitiveness and that is why I will continue to push for improvements on our road network.”
His fellow Fianna Fáil deputy Beverley Flynn also welcomed the €12 million investment in Mayo roads. She said the “significant investment” demonstrates the “Government’s continued commitment to the development of Mayo’s road infrastructure.”