Sunday 30 April 2017

Minister: Booming dairy industry putting pressure on rural roads

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe wants more funding
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe wants more funding
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has warned Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin that increased productivity in the dairy industry will leave the rural road network in desperate need of repair.

The removal of the milk cap means local roads are coming under increasing pressure due to a higher number of heavy vehicles transporting milk since the cap was lifted.

Mr Donohoe's officials wrote to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform insisting the Department of Transport needs an extra €300m a year to invest or the road network will fall into disrepair.

The move puts Mr Donohoe on a collision course with his Cabinet colleagues who are also seeking their share of Mr Howlin's forthcoming capital investment spend.

Transport officials argue that the department was hit the hardest during the recession when it came to budget cuts as roads were not seen as a priority ahead of areas such as health and education.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Donhoe said he was in talks with Mr Howlin.

"I have been working with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to how we provide the investment that public transport will need to meet the needs of a growing economy," he said.

"I have looked at that objective; I have also looked at the huge need that our existing road transport network has.

"What I have acknowledged is that there is a need to invest more to be able to better meet the needs of a growing economy and I am working hard with Mr Howlin to do that."

Irish Independent

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