€7m spend on rural roads announced by Government as election looms

An all-terrain vehicle of the Civil Defence brings food and people around the flooded areas of Mountmellick. Photo: Kevin Byrne
An all-terrain vehicle of the Civil Defence brings food and people around the flooded areas of Mountmellick. Photo: Kevin Byrne
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Ireland's rural roads can expect a facelift as the Government announces a further €7m in funding with an election in the offing.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, just today announced a further €7.4m in funding for Local Authorities under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) to support the improvement of non-public rural roads in 2017.

According to the Minister, this brings to €17.4m, the amount invested by the Government in non-public rural lanes, boreens and access roads this year.

It comes as the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets with Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin to hold crunch talks after Fianna Fail said it had 'no confidence' in Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald over her handling of emails relating to the Maurice McCabe.

If talks fail, the country will be facing a snap election and local issues, such as roads, could be key for votes.

Minister Ring said he could not overstate how important these roads are to people in rural areas.

"They enable them to access their homes and farms, but many have fallen into disrepair."

According to Michael Ring, the Department of Rural and Community Development will provide up to 90pc of the funding through the Local Authorities, with the remaining contribution coming from local residents.

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County Donegal has been allocated €2.5m under the announcement today after it was hit by severe flooding earlier this year, while Laois which was severely hit by localised flooding in recent weeks has been allocated over €500,000.

“There was a hugely positive response when the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and myself announced €10 million in funding for these roads at the National Ploughing Championship in September and I am delighted to be able to announce a further €7.4m today," the Minister said.

Funding will be provided to 19 Local Authorities based on the amounts they have requested and their stated capacity to complete the work before the end of the year.

"Donegal County Council has been allocated €2.5 million having indicated that it has a particularly high demand for improvements to non-public roads as a result of the damage caused by local flooding in August."

The Minister also said that his Department would continue to invest in infrastructure to support rural people in their daily lives.

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