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24 May 2022

Not enough repair cash for private Laois roads to farms and homes

Three year waiting list due to recession era cut

Giant potholes on Laois national road the links with Kilkenny and Kildare motorway

Not enough money is being spent in west and south Laois through a scheme that supports farmers and others who live on private roads in Laois to fix or maintain the surfaces, according to county councillors.

The call for more cash emerged at a meeting in Laois County Council where it emerged that applicants are waiting up to three years for work to be done to improve road access to their homes and farms.

Cllr James Kelly, Independent, welcomed that €351,000 had been set aside for the Local Improvement Scheme in Laois and €135,000 for the district he represents from Borris-in-Ossory to Mountmellick.

“It’s still not enough, especially for our area which is bigger than the other two municipalities (in Laois),” said the councillor.

He hoped that more money would be sought or more money because of the number of applications made for grants to support upgrades and repairs.

He said households have to come up between 10% and 15% of the estimated cost of work done. He said a max is place of €1,200 on what can be contributed by a household or landowner using a private road.

The issue was raised at the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting where Cllr Ollie Clooney asked what the average waiting time is.

Edmond Kenny, District Engineer, said the scheme recommenced in 2017 after being suspended since 2008. He said the backlog is being cleared but there is a three year waiting time for work to be done due to the waiting list.

He told the April meeting that the extent of works to be carried out in 2022 would be known once costs have been prepared, something that is due to be completed within weeks.

Cllr Clooney said the waiting time is an improvement and hoped more money could be found to shorten the waiting period.

Cllr Seamus McDonald, Fianna Fáil, said he could recall when the waiting time was up to nine years. He suggested that a letter would be written to the Minister responsible to seek more money.

Cllr Paddy Bracken, Fianna Fáil, also concurred with the need for more Government funding for what is a very attractive scheme.

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