The grave reality of Leitrim County Council’s dire financial situation became evident at this month’s members’ meeting when the majority of all proposed road works by local councillors were turned down.
In total 15 motions and questions for road works, repair, maintenance, hedge cutting, signage and other items were met with the same answer “Leitrim County Council is not in a position to carry out these works due to the serious adverse financial position of the council and the indications of further reductions in the Local Government Fund for 2012.”
All councillors argued and made cases for their area, the “immediate” works needed and the dangers of ignoring these problems, but the answer remained the same with the Council saying it is “standing still from now ‘til the end of the year” as they try to reduce the €1.3 million budget deficit. It was also hinted that tougher decisions will have to made next year with the possibility of ceasing all street sweeping services and even turning off public lighting.
Cllr Tony Ferguson asked about hedge cutting where “visibility of road signs and clearance of grass and scrub at junctions is essential.” The Council said the “responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges rests fully with the landowner and Leitrim County Council will continue to serve “Hedge Cutting Notices” on the landowners involved.”
Ballinamore Cllr Gordon Hughes asked the council to consider introducing traffic calming measures at the junction of Willowfield Road, Ballinamore with the main Killeshandra Road to reduce the speed of traffic passing at this location.” Cllr Caillian Ellis said a serious accident was waiting to happen at this junction. But the Council said there was no funds available.
Councillor Sinead Guckian asked the Director of Services, Infrastructure to facilitate her previous request; to assist the residents at Correen, Dublin Rd, Carrick on Shannon, to upgrade the existing water pipeline so they can connect to the main water line. The council said an upgrade was “desirable” but there was no money. Cllr Guckian did not accept the reply and outlined that in previous representation to the Council she had requested that at a minimum that costing would be undertaken on the project. Residents in this area are considering funding the repairs, but Cllr Guckian said the road could be “ripped up again” for an upgrade. John McGuinness said “even if it just €10 we can’t do it.” The council agreed to “just talk” with the residents.
Proposed passing bays from Lough Rynn Hotel to the Gortletteragh Junction brought forward by Cllr John Ward were also turned down. As was the motion to erect warning signs on the road from Killenummery Church and the Club House Bar/Restaurant in Dromahair by Cllr John McTernan. McTernan said three crashes have occurred in the road in two and a half months.
Councillor Paddy O’Rourke said he was “very unhappy” that his request for Leitrim County Council to provide a safe fence/barrier on the left hand side of the canal bridge at Carrickmakeegan. He said, “should anybody lean against it they would have no protection from falling down the deep decline into the canal.” John McGuinness said if there were materials available they might fix it but they can’t buy any new items.
Others works such as removing the bend at Ballinamore/Aughacashel road beside Pol an Easa waterfall leading to the townland of Kiltybardon; resurfacing Kiltymooden Hill, Ballinamore; public lighting outside St Anne’s Church of Ireland Annaduff; traffic calming measures at Clancy’s Shop and Restaurant, Glenfarne; hedge cutting; repairs to the Laughta road which links the Uragh Road; full road works at Killahurk Carrigallen; permanent solution to Tully Carrigallen, and necessary drainage works at Cornagher Cloone were all either refused or said to be awaiting funding.