Leitrim's county councillors have accused the National Roads Authority of 'giving the two fingers' to motorists after a directive was given instructing the Local Authority to limit the usage of salt on the county's roads to just 10 tonnes per night.
Despite the trojan work carried out by staff in Leitrim County Council, their hands have been effectively tied by the directive and residents are now faced with the possibility that huge tracks of roadway will be left impassable by the weekend.
Earlier this year the Government announced that the NRA would be taking over the responsibility of purchasing salt stocks for the local authorities. However the NRA now maintain that their responsibility is to provide salt stocks solely for the treatment of National Routes and it would appear that Councils are now being expected to finance the purchase of their own salt for treating Primary and Local roads.
In a short statement issued on Leitrim County Council's website the Council acknowledged it had been told to restrict salt usage and admitted that the Winter Road Maintenance programme will have to be adjusted as a result.
NRA PRO, Sean O'Neill told the Leitrim Observer that salt supplies have to be managed in a disciplined manner because "there is not enough salt to salt every road in the county and additional supplies already on order will not begin to arrive until this weekend coming".
"The National Roads Authority has purchased salt for use by the local authorities on the national routes (national primary and national secondary) and some key local roads for access to hospitals, ports and airports," he said.
Sinn Fein Councillor, Martin Kenny, said that it would appear the NRA are "giving the two fingers" to residents of largely rural counties like Leitrim.
"It happens time and time again. Those of us in the West are completely ignored by the Government," he claimed. "We are being told to prepare for serious weather this week and over the weekend and now we're being told that there isn't enough salt stocks. What happened to the stocks the NRA announced last month and why haven't they ensured that sufficient stocks are ordered when these weather systems are predicted well in advance?"
Cllr John McCartin agreed that the situation was "dire" for residents in the county and he pointed out that the vast majority of people in Leitrim did not live near the National Routes and did not use them regularly.
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