INDEPENDENT TD Michael Healy-Rae says too much money is being spent on road signs -- because local people know exactly where they're going.
The Kerry South TD -- who has been pictured canvassing on the back of a donkey -- asked Transport Minister Leo Varadkar why the National Roads Authority ( NRA) "is spending money on unnecessary road signs at present".
"Persons living on local roads, pulling out on to national primary routes, are now seeing signs directing them to their nearest town or village, which they are perfectly capable of finding without having the NRA putting up signs to direct them as to where they are to go," Mr Healy-Rae said.
Mr Varadkar pointed out that road signs are generally not for locals, who know where they are going.
"Rather they exist to serve visitors to an area, who would not have such knowledge," Mr Varadkar said.
"In particular, in areas such as Kerry they are an important aid to tourists, and adequate and appropriate signposting allows them to travel independently without the stress of getting lost."
Mr Healy-Rae tabled a Dail question on the issue, which perplexed officials in Mr Varadkar's department. And the minister's reply illustrated this.
"Obviously signage is for people travelling to and through a region," Sean O'Neill of the NRA said.
"We're glad to know locals know where they're going -- and we'd assume they do -- but signs are for people who are going to and passing through the area."
In 2006, the NRA started work on upgrading all signs on the entire 5,500km of national roads around the country.
Mr O'Neill last night said the work on the new signs was ongoing, and would be complete by late 2013 or early 2014.
The NRA has spent €35m on the work to date, and it is expected to cost a total of €40m by completion.
Mr Healy-Rae last night insisted he was talking about roads with only three or four homes on it, which may be cul-de-sacs only local people would use and would not attract tourists.
"You'd have to know where I'm talking about to know that no road signs are needed," he added last night.