The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have suspended a vital scheme for upgrading local and rural roads across the country.
The Community Involvement Scheme applied to local and rural roads which are public roads and allows communities and people living on these roads an opportunity to have their road improved and fully restored. These works were funded jointly by the local authority (75%) and the local community (25%).
Reacting to the news, local councillor John Paul O’ Shea (Ind) said “The Community Involvement Scheme has been a tremendous asset to local communities over the years with many local and rural roads upgraded with the help of this scheme. Roads in Bweeng, Fiddane, Buttevant, Mourneabbey and Laharn have all been upgraded in recent years with the help of this scheme. The news is disastrous for the Mallow area and we will now see roads which have low traffic volumes, particularly in rural areas go into serious disrepair as a result of this scheme being suspended indefinitely”.
“The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have ordered the suspension of the scheme to local authorities such as Cork County Council which I have strongly opposed and rejected today. The Mallow Area Roads Committee of Cork County Council will be communicating this message loud and clear back to the Department and to the Government requesting them to leave this scheme in place for 2013 at the very least and commence dialog with local authorities in terms of how we are going to maintain local and rural roads into the future”.
Cllr. O’ Shea added “The Department have stated they are to pilot a new scheme will require communities to pay a 50% contribution towards restoration works. I believe that level of contribution is far too excessive for communities to contribute in the current economic climate and this pilot scheme will not be taken up if it is left proceed as is. I would also see this is as a serious insult to people who live in local and rural roads who pay the same road tax as everyone else. It is nothing more than a serious discrimination against rural communities and must be resisted on all fronts”.