Lack of roads investment costing lives

l-r Mr Tom Stricth, Director of Service Roads; Cllr John Paul O'Shea; Cllr Kevin Murphy; Minister Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport; Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork; Cllr Frank O'Flynn; Cllr Paul Hayes

COUNTY Mayor and Dunmanway-based independent councillor Declan Hurley said that Transport Minister Shane Ross “seemed to take onboard” the concerns of a Cork delegation that met with him in Dublin recently to discuss the condition of the county’s road infrastructure.

A report on the meeting that was also attended by West Cork Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes was presented to the recent County Council meeting at County Hall. Among the issues highlighted were the poor condition of roads in West Cork including the N71, R586 and R572 as well as the pressures being placed on the local network by heavy goods vehicles serving the dairy and fishing industries. The unfinished Bandon bypass road and works at Chip Van Corner near Innishannon were also discussed.

Mayor Hurley said that the minister indicated there was scope for additional funding to be allocated following the mid-term spending review that was due shortly and he was hopeful that some positive news would be forthcoming.

Paul Hayes said the delegation tried to highlight as many issues as possible and said he was assured that funding “would not be found wanting” for the Clonakilty-Rosscarbery section of the N71, one of the most dangerous sections of road in West Cork.

Cllr Kevin Murphy said the current funding for secondary routes was “paltry” but welcomed the progress on designs for the Bandon bypass extension.

Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan said it was the fifth or sixth delegation since his time in the council and all the others had come to nothing but he hoped this time it would be different. He said the response was “non-committal” as usual and that the N71 was “grossly underfunded”. He said the lack of investment was “costing jobs, costing investment but most importantly costing lives”.

Cllr Joe Carroll said some roads in West Cork were so bad, “a tape should be just drawn across them” as they were not fit for traffic. He said at present only one in 50 roads requiring resurfacing was being done and if this continued the entire network would soon not be fit for purpose.