Massive blow as roads scheme cut

Confirmation in Monday’s Budget announcement by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin that the Government intends to discontinue funding in 2012 for private roads under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) has been met with alarm in Co Leitrim.

Confirmation in Monday’s Budget announcement by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin that the Government intends to discontinue funding in 2012 for private roads under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) has been met with alarm in Co Leitrim.

Under the scheme those living on non-public roads could apply for a partial funding application to help bear the cost of upgrading of often lengthy byroads serving a number of private properties.

The LIS covers roads serving farmlands, houses, bogs and small bridges including associated drainage works. The householders living on or using these byroads were expected to pay toward the cost of the works but the council’s ability to assist in meeting the bulk of the costs involved was instrumental in ensuring that many lanes were restored to an acceptable level.

However on Monday Minister Howlin signalled an immediate cessation of this funding, leaving nearly 200 people currently on the waiting list for funding with Leitrim County Council, ‘high and dry’.

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Leitrim County Council said they had yet to receive formal notification on the cutting of the LIS and were not in a position to comment at this point.

“Obviously the LIS is a very important scheme especially for a rural county like Leitrim and the cessation of the Scheme is of concern and would have a very significant impact,” noted the spokesperson

“Our allocation for 2011 under this scheme was w233,000 – this facilitated completion of eight schemes. Applications are taken in chronological order based on date of receipt of application in line with the adopted policy. There are currently approximately 180-190 applications on the waiting list.”

Cllr Enda Stenson said that some people had been on the waiting list for a substantial period and said he was aware that some had been waiting up to six years for funding to improve vital by-roads.

To read the fulll story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.