IFA Deputy President + Countryside Chairman, Eddie Downey, said the decision by the Department of Transport to provide an initial fund of €10.4 million for the repair and maintenance of regional and local roads is an important measure to allow local authorities to begin essential repair and maintenance of rural roads.
Eddie Downey said, “Poor road conditions in rural areas are causing significant safety issues for motorists, pedestrians and other road users, with members in some counties reporting vast tracks of road which have disappeared and are in urgent need of repair”.
“The agri-food industry is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing over 300,000 people. The vast majority of these people are employed in rural communities. The failure to maintain basic services such as an adequate road network is directly impacting on the competitiveness and future growth of the sector.”
He said, “Rural dwellers were unfairly targeted in the last budget, with a 15% reduction in the allocation for regional and local road repair. This additional funding announced must end the continuous cut in the local authority spend on road maintenance. Councils must now urgently put in place a repair and maintenance programme.”