Legal issues currently being discussed before grit made available to public

Following a presentation from Mr Iarla Moran on Mayo County Council’s winter maintenance plan at this week’s Swinford Electoral Area meeting, a number of councillors called for grit to be deposited in strategic locations for local groups to use to grit local roads.

While the council gave a commitment in the plan to do what it could in relation to this, councillors were also told that a number of legal issues this were currently being discussed at the highest level of Government. “The Office of Emergency Planning is currently liaising with the Attorney General’s office in relation to health and safety and legal implications of local authorities offering this kind of assistance,” Paul Dolan, senior executive engineer for Mayo County Council, told the members.

The issue of legal implications of who would be responsible if a car lost control on the grit and crashed if the grit was put down by a member of the local community was raised by Fine Gael councillor Eugene Lavin. Sinn Fein councillor Gerry Murray told the meeting the Roads Act 1993 allowed the council to indemnify those members of the public who carried out this kind of work. However Mr Dolan said the health and safety implications also had to be taken into account and the Attorney General was currently looking into it.

While the councillors present mostly praised the plan that Mayo County Council had put together, they did express a wish that local roads were included among the top two priorities for gritting and salting. However council management explained the main priority was to have the national primary roads taken care of, then the national secondary, before moving on to the routes that are strategically important and link the major towns in the county. “The national plan is to have 15,000km of road way in the top two priorities, in Mayo alone we have 1,000km to deal with,” Mr Dolan said.

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