ALL but 40 minutes of the entire morning session of Monday's Kerry Council County meeting was taken up with a discussion on whether or not the council should take charge of a private road in Killarney - only for the issue to be adjourned, without any real solution, after two and a half hours of debate.
The issue arose when management proposed adopting a new policy for the ' Taking in Charge of Private Roads' which would see eight residents of the Black Road in Killarney facing a bill of €75,000 to upgrade their road.
Cllr Breda Moynian Croinin, speaking on behalf of the residents, said that policy wasn't fair and that the Black Road should to be treated as an exceptional case. She argued that while their road is classed as a private road, it services more than 100 vehicles per day and connects to two major roads. She said locals do not need a 'pristine, fully resurfaced road,' just want the potholes filled.
For two and a half hours the issue was discussed, with some councillors arguing that the road should be a separate, oneoff exception, while others - notably Cllr Toireasa Ferris - said it was ludicrous to allow one road dictate policy.
Cllr Brendan Cronin suggested - with agreement of residents - that all nine householders pay a combined, once-off sum of €5,000 to improve the road, after which it be taken in charge.
This prompted county manager, Tom Curran, to insist that if accedes to this request, he needed an assurance that it would not 'open the floodgates' for other residents of private roads to seek the same dispensation. He said the council couldn't afford to services existing roads, let alone taking on more.
This request was rejected by Cllr John Brassil, Cllr Ferris and Cllr Michael Cahill, who said under no circumstances could they return to their constituents and explain they had voted in favour of one road being taken in charge on the condition they couldn't apply for a similar situation in their own areas.
It was then suggested by Cllr Cahill and Cllr Brassil that the council adopts a policy whereby management only take charge of private roads which they feel meet the criteria - with the exception of the Black Road - which prompted an angry outburst from Cllr Ferris.
"Have ye lost your minds," she shouted across the chamber at her colleagues. "You're saying we hand over our power to management because we can't make hard decisions. I've heard it all now."
The issue was finally concluded when Mr Curran promised he would look at it on its merits and revert to members. He also accepted that the current policy before the council did not make allowances for roads such as the Black Road, which were of strategic importance, and asked the Transport CPC to come back with another draft.