Laois County Council did roadworks on 17 local roads in 2014, funded through the Community Involvement in Roads Scheme (CIS), using government grants totalling €675,000, nearly one sixth of the national budget .
The CIS scheme works by asking the local community to contribute one fifth of the cost to fix their road, either in money or in materials and labour, and the council applying for the rest of the money from the government, and overseeing the work.
“We got a total of €675,000 last year. 15 percent of the government’s budget for this scheme came to Laois, it was probably the most successful county, but it needs a community contribution to make it worthwhile,” said Director of Services Kieran Kehoe.
Engineer Orla Barrett outlined how the scheme worked, during last Wednesday’s Portarlington Graiguecullen district meeting.
“Initially the community say they will pay the 20 percent, they show us the road, we cost the work and go back to them to say how much it will cost, and ask if they are still interested,” she said.
She noted that some of the projects last year left it very late to confirm they were taking part.
“Some didn’t cough up their share until the last minute. Had they dropped out it would have been too late for other applications to replace them,” she said.
Among the areas completed in 2014 are several council housing estates.
Some of the 17 include Oakley Park in Graiguecullen, Kirwan Park in Mountmellick, St. Brigid’s Drive in Ballinakill, Cois na hAbhainn in Portlaoise, Butter Island in Coolrain, Clonaheen in Rosenallis, Loughteague in Stradbally and Island in Abbeyleix.
Details of the 2015 scheme have not yet been received from the Department by the local authority.
They have advertised in this week’s issue (page 16) for communities to apply for roadworks through the CIS scheme, with a closing date of March 20. Application forms are on www.laois.ie