THE return of the dreaded pothole and poor quality tap water has led to roads and water getting the worst grades in a damning assessment of Ireland's infrastructure.
Many of the country's roads have "deteriorated" and are only being repaired on "a patchwork basis", the new report finds. Non-motorway and national secondary roads got a 'D' grade in a scorecard from Engineers Ireland.
"The links that pull the rest of the traffic on to the motorways are not of sufficient quality, or are non-existent," according to the State of Ireland 2013 report published yesterday.
Only one new strategic road project – the N5 Ballaghaderreen bypass in Co Roscommon – started last year, with other major schemes postponed.
Roads that were repaired in the 1990s need to be fixed again because of insufficient investment, well below international levels, the report finds.
While motorways get a 'B' score in the audit, all other roads are rated 'D' - well below par. Overall, the entire road network got a 'C' grade.
The report is also critical of the fact that no new motorway rest and refuelling areas have been built recently.
According to the IMF, EU and ECB, implementation of investment programmes should be accelerated, not cut," the report adds.
Communications infrastructure, allocated a 'B+' grade, achieved the best mark of the five areas evaluated.
Waste and energy infrastructure received a 'B' grade, while water got a 'C.'
Many Irish water schemes are under threat from cryptosporidium because of inadequate barriers in treatment, the report finds. Comprehensive water safety and catchment management plans are needed to reduce this risk.
However, the consolidation of water services from 34 local authorities to a single publicly-owned water utility company should benefit consumers, the report finds.