Fund made defunct in '11 restored

Dónal Nolan

Over €700,000 is being made available to begin upgrading the county's private road network as the Government moved to finally restore a scheme effectively made defunct six years ago.

Private roads the length and breadth of rural Kerry have been deteriorating rapidly since 2011 when the Local Improvement Scheme was cut completely as the havoc generally wreaked by rain and traffic on Kerry road worsened without remedy.

Politicians moved fast to welcome news of the reinstatement of the fund this week. Fianna Fáil TD John Brassil said the renewal of the fund was coming 'late in the day' and that additional funding in the coming months is vital.

Independent Deputy Michael Healy Rae - who said it was he who had included the renewal of the fund in the Programme for Government - described it as a 'welcome start' in addressing a road list he estimates requires over €2 million to be tackled completely.

"This €727,000 is going to allow for us to begin upgrading the network of local, private roads, these are small country roads where at least two households exist. I estimate we will need over €2million, but it's a good start and while I was disappointed it wasn't included last year as I had been calling for it's welcome news that the fund is now back at least."

Deputy John Brassil, who said Fianna Fáil had first established the fund and had been calling for the scheme's reintroduction, said the money was vitally-needed: "We have seen major issues arising on roads right across County Kerry following the abolition of the scheme by the Fine Gael led Government. Since then the County Council has found it increasingly difficult to incorporate roar repair work into its budget, and as a result many of these roads have fallen into disrepair."

Deputy Danny Healy Rae said he had helped ensure its reinstatement: "I told Ministers several times that the people of Kerry are entitled to a good road to their door every bit as much as the people of Dublin 4."