WHILE we struggle, in varying degrees of anger and perplexity, to cope with the consequences of the economic crash, we have just had a sharp reminder of one of the many things that went wrong during the boom, which preceded the catastrophe.
The Government lately thrown out of office in spectacular style built motorways -- belatedly and too expensively, but nobody could doubt the necessity. Meanwhile, however, it neglected the secondary and local roads.
And, as everybody knows from day-to-day life experience, when one thing goes wrong, another follows; and another, and another. For two years running, we experienced exceptional winter weather, snow and floods. This had a disastrous effect on road surfaces.
Now the Department of Transport reckons that we need to spend €2.7bn on repairs to the local and regional network. Not only that: we need to spend another €1.7bn on 63 of our busiest national roads.
That comes, in total, to a cool €4.4bn. A lot of money even in the Celtic Tiger era, a massive frustration in our current difficulties.
Even if the Department of Transport, or the National Roads Authority, or the local authorities, had the courage to embark on a programme, where to find the money?
But somehow a solution must be found. Bad roads -- not only those that verge on the impassable, but any that are seriously in need of repair -- endanger life. We must find a way to "put shovels on the ground".