Cllr Paddy O'Reilly.
Cllr Paddy O'Reilly.
He made the accusation during a debate on the approval of the Roadworks Programme 2017 at the March meeting of the local authority on Monday. The LIS covers repair to private lanes in rural areas not serviced by the local authority.
The council's Roadwork Programme will see over €18 million spent in a protracted programme of procurement. Negotiations have been in train over the last few months at the Transport and Infrastructure Special Policy Committee and Municipal District meetings.
Cllr O'Reilly said that there was discretionary funding allocated by Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, for the LIS projects but it was not in the programme.
Responding, Mr Ryan said that, after the road budget negotiations, it was not included in the Roadworks Programme for the county as it would “further reduce our local and regional road spend” and divert money away from vital schemes.
Earlier Cllr O'Reilly suggested that the minutes of the February council meeting had been edited to remove Fine Gael's objections to the exclusion of LIS projects from the debate.
Director of Services, Eoin Doyle, said that the minutes are an objective record and record the ultimate decision with a flavour of the nature of the debate.
He said that councillors had an opportunity to raise aspects they felt were omitted prior to adoption, which the council were doing.
Addressing Cllr O'Reilly's accusation, Mr Ryan said that LIS projects were not provided for in the programme after protracted negotiations.
He said that the decision on discretionary funding was not made by the executive and that the approval of the report was “your call”. Cllr O'Reilly maintained that the roads programme had been put together without full consultation.
The overall Government allocation for regional and local roads in Cavan has been increased by almost 8% to €9,117,182,. This is coupled with €6,850,892 for the improvement and maintenance of the National Road Network.
The council's own contribution under the Roadworks Programme 2017 is €2,326,376, bringing the total sum to be spent on county roads this year to over €18.2 million.
Cllr John Paul Feeney (FF) said that the Fine Gael councillors comments were “bluster” in an attempt to blame the executive for the government's lack of dedicated funding for Local Improvement Scheme. He said that there was a need for additional funding for the Roadworks Programme but that there was a need to “get on with the programme”.
Sinn Fein's Eugene Greenan said that no one was happy with the roads allocation and commended Cllr O'Reilly for “standing up for your community”.
However he said that the council had to move forward. Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) said that he could not vote with his party in passing the programme.
He said that he was embarrassed when people said to him “this is a disgrace”. After a vote the Roadworks Programme was passed by 10 votes for (6 FF and 4 SF) to seven (FG) against, with one abstention (FF).
New York trip
Mr Ryan and Cathoirleach Fergal Curtin were obliged to leave the Chamber shortly after the vote as a number of flights from Ireland to US airports were cancelled due to blizzard warnings issued for the east coast of the United States. The CEO of the local authority and the council's elected leader departed early for New York City for the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
Mr Ryan and Cllr Curtin are scheduled to attend functions with the objective of strengthening ties, attracting tourism and promoting County Cavan as a place to employ and enterprise.