All county council hedgecutting done around Laois is now contracted to a Kilkenny company.
The news was revealed to councillors for the Graiguecullen Portarlington Municipal District and it outraged Cllr Ben Brennan. He said Laois companies have lost the work.
Cllr Brenna said that councillors were assured at a meeting that local people would get some of the work to trim back roadside hedges.
“I think it’s ludicrous that we hand this over to Total Highway Maintenance. It is costing three times as much, it’s crazy. Local contractors did excellent work, why fix something that’s not broken? Local people know where all the roads are, and people will talk to them. To me so far it’s not a success, it’s out of order,” he said.
Hedges are now being cut too low and wing mirrors getting broken, Cllr Padraig Fleming said, reporting that the contractor had to return twice to cut a verge higher.
“I heard that school busses and lorries had mirrors being broken by big branches. One company lost three mirrors. Overhangs are bigger problems for higher vehicles. If they can only cut up to 1.2 metres, that is a very flawed contract,” he said.
Council engineer Philip McVeigh agreed to check the terms of the contract.
Cllr Tom Mulhall also regretted the loss of local contractors.
“There is a huge hedge nearly three foot out on a side road near Bishops road wood in Portarlington. If we could ring a local contractor it would be done quickly,” he said.
He also wants the council to crack down on farmers not trimming verges.
“95 percent of them do it, but the few that don’t the council should get onto them big time,” he said.