Aontú’s Sarah O’Reilly was digusted with the level of funding for roads.

€3.67M for roads ‘not enough’

Councillors in the Cootehill-Bailieborough Municipal District reluctantly accepted a roads funding budget for 2024 at their meeting in Cootehill on Monday.

The funding of €3.5M from the Department of Transport and €227,000 from Cavan County Council was cited as “unacceptable”, “not enough” and “ridiculous” following the disclosure by town manager, Clinton Mulligan. It was eventually proposed by Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick (FF) and seconded by Cllr Carmel Brady (FG).

Eight roads in the municipal district made it on to the repair list, while dozens of others were put on the long finger because of insufficient funds. They include: the R165 Cavan - Bailieborough; Long mile to Drumoosclin; R192 Cootehill - Shercock; Knappagh Bridge towards Corcloghan; L7572 Muff - Cornakill Road; Cornakill Cross towards Muff; L2032 Cortober Road; Cortober/Corbeagh Cross to Monaghan Border; L3519 Glasleck - Cornalara Road; between Shercock-Bailieborough Road and Shercock-Kingscourt Road; L6074 Drummole - Cornakill Road; off R165 opposite Gary Lees linking back at Drumole beside McKenna’s house; L2028 Corraneary - Kilnacrew; Corraneary Cross towards Latully Road at Kilnacrew; and the R190 Station Road, Cootehil

“I know that it has to be balanced out as best as it can be,” said Cllr Brady. “But it is good to know that the Cootehill Road is getting priority. It’s the main road into our town so thank you for that.”

Cllr Sarah O’Reilly (Aontú) was less than impressed. She expressed her disappointment over the funding allocation and highlighted how five roads had been taken off the programme “altogether”.

“We have now gone from 19.5km of road repairs to 13.5km,” she fumed. “And, that is with additional funding from our own resources. That is shocking and our roads are shocking, in fact they are horrendous.

“Our TDs and ministers have let us all down on this because there is lots of money for other things. I’m actually disgusted over the funding and I know that this is no reflection on Cavan County Council.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Fitzpatrick said that, while he accepted that what could be done, would be done, it was important to remember that building costs have gone “through the roof” and the allocation did not reflect that.

“There is too much control over roads funding for Co Cavan and it’s a pity that we can’t get more, especially in light of the fact that there seems to be plenty of funding for our walkways and greenways.

“Roads funding is now static in terms of the increase in associated costs. I am, however, delighted that Station Road is funded but there are so many others that aren’t,” he lamented.

Cllr Paddy McDonald (SF) pointed to the success of the local agricultural industry and the subsequent need for proper infrastructure to meet its demands. “We need good roads in this county and I am calling for more funding,” he said.

“And, until we get the funding that is needed, there really is nothing that we can do.”

Fine Gael’s Val Smith (added; “We need more funding; we are going to have to lobby more for that. Surely we can get money given how bad the roads are in this county.”

Cathaoirelach of the MD, Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) said it was only a matter of time before the roads in Co Cavan were in a similar state to routes across the county in 1980s and 1990s. “Admittedly, the work being carried out now is far superior to that of the 1980s and 1990s but none-the-less, the roads are in a very bad state,” he remarked.

“I would love to tell people that we have the money to do the roads but the money simply isn’t there and they are in a terrible, terrible condition. It’s the Government’s fault because it is not providing the roads funding that is required. This is where we are and it’s going to be very difficult explaining to people why their roads are not done.”