What is truth?

roads in South Wicklow

Liz McManus
(Wicklow, Labour) on roads in South Wicklow

I thank Deputy Ciarán Lynch for sharing his time. This motion covers much of the impact of the recent severe weather. I regret I have so few minutes to describe the devastation of roads in south Wicklow as a consequence of this weather. Last year the roads budget for Wicklow County Council was slashed by €3 million. For the electoral area of south Wicklow alone, the damage caused to local roads by the recent weather is estimated at €3 million. This does not include the N11 because the larger the road the less damage done. For local communities and people living in rural areas, the impact has been truly devastating. There are roads in Wicklow where trenches have opened up and others which look as if they have been bombed in a war. I do not know whether we should be looking for reparation or restoration moneys. However, funding must be secured fast because we cannot leave rural communities with Third World standard or impassable roads. The cost of just patch-up jobs on the roads in my constituency will turn out to be greater in the long term. I want the Government to take action in dealing with this serious problem.

Council workers were out day and night during the snow ensuring certain roads were kept open. I welcome that they have been given credit for this in the motion. The only thanks those men have received so far, however, is less money in their pay packets. With all this stuff we have had to endure about public sector workers, anyone who starts to abuse them should remember we depended on those workers coming out while the rest of us enjoyed our holidays. Wicklow County Council also has a shortfall of €500,000 due to the additional costs for gritting the roads.

I estimate that bringing Wicklow’s roads up to a decent standard will cost €8 million. The Government did not meet the challenge when the snow came. Its response was disastrous. There must be a response from Government that meets the needs of my county and others, including County Wexford as represented by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The only way this can be done is by way of additional funding. While I accept the economic situation is not propitious, we must ensure people in our communities are not living with substandard roads which are a danger and obstruction to normal life.

Liz McManus
(Wicklow, (nursing home)

Question 232: To ask the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the fact that a nursing home (details supplied) closed down almost a year ago and the commitment given that a review of the needs of older people in the area would be carried out, this review has being undertaken; when the review will be completed and the findings made known; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

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