By Colm Gannon
The damage caused by the recent bad weather has seen a number of elected members of Mayo County Council call for the funding available to councillors under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS ) to be increased dramatically, back up towards €80,000 per councillor.
The LIS funding was normally used for works carried out on non-public roads, with councillors being able to allocate an amount and the people who lived on the roads making a contribution also. Independent councillor Michael Holmes raised the issue saying: “I would make a strong case for the LIS funding to be reinstated to where it was. Because several people with private roads have been washed away, farmers with roads by the sea have seen them washed away, they’re everywhere. Where they can’t get out to their lands at the moment, can’t get out to their fields and feed stock because those roads were washed away. If this happened seven or eight years ago when each councillor had €80k of LIS funding we could allocate a certain amount of money that would reinstate those roads or bring them back up to a standard. Last year we had €8k, it’s a disaster. It’s not just farmers and landowners are affected, there are people living in private houses on these roads, with the road going to them totally washed away.”
Sinn Fein councillor Rose Conway Walsh called for the issue to be put before Government quickly, saying: “The issue of the LIS scheme has to be put to central Government. Because what became apparent was that while the council roads were blocked off, the local private roads had to be used and they didn’t have the capacity for what was needed, be it in terms of ambulances, trucks, and whatnot as it tried to get out and around in different areas.”