Disappointment with Minister over failure to enact emergency roads fund for Magheracloone
Local MEP, Matt Carthy, has expressed his disappointment that Minister Shane Ross has, thus far, refused to provide an emergency road fund for the Magheracloone area in the wake of the recent Mine Collapses in the parish.
The Sinn Féin representative said:
“I have been in contact with the Department of Transport on numerous occasions calling for the implementation of an emergency road fund to address the issues of local road conditions following the extensive diversions put in place as a result of the mine collapses and subsequent closure of the main Carrickmacross to Kingscourt route. Considering the roads which acted as diversions were subjected to traffic levels far about normal I was disappointed to receive a response from Minister Shane Ross indicating that the existing road funding in Monaghan must suffice in dealing with these additional circumstances”.
In his reply to Carthy, Minister Ross cited historic austerity measures for his inability to act, “Substantial cutbacks in the funding available for State grants for national, regional and local road programmes were made during the financial crisis which had and continues to have a major impact across the Network.”
Subsequent to the Gyproc Mine Collapses, a section of the R179 had been closed resulting in unprecedented volumes of traffic being diverted via small local and regional roads throughout Magheracloone.
Matt Carthy continued: “The Minister’s response is not good enough. I am aware that Monaghan County Council is working to address any issues that have arisen during the period of diversions and will be making a claim to recoup some of the costs from Gyproc. However, local roads across Co. Monaghan, including Magheracloone are already in need of considerable investment due to, as the Minister accedes, cutbacks by Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael governments over the past ten years. To suggest that our county road funding should be used to cover expenses arising from such a unique circumstance is not good on the part of the Minister.
“An emergency infrastructure fund is the basic minimum response in relation to an incident like this. Thousands of heavy goods vehicles had to use narrow local roads during the main road closures. Some of these road surfaces have reached a critical point where they are becoming impassable. The standard road maintenance budget of Monaghan County Council should not have to be used to address the amount of remedial work required on this network of roads.
“I will continue to press this matter with the Minister as I don’t believe he can credibly ignore his own responsibility to the people of Magheracloone and South Monaghan.”