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18/09/2021

€3 million needed to clear roads waiting list in Leitrim

Road works

LIS funding needed in Leitrim

It will take at least €3m in funding to clear the current Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) waiting list according to Leitrim County Council.

LIS funding is used to carry out improvement works on private and non-publicly maintained roads. A contribution is made by those living or with farmland located on the road with the balance provided by Government funding.

At the moment the waiting list for LIS funding is not open for new applications in Leitrim with the emphasis now on clearing the existing waiting list.

This year the council plans to finish 17 projects on the list, leaving 85 still awaiting funding.

At the September Council meeting in the Bush Hotel, Cllr Frank Dolan asked for an update on the current LIS waiting list noting that “this is an issue for us every year”.

“People are wondering why their road is not being done. They fail to understand that the LIS is funded separately to the roads programme,” noted Cllr Dolan.

“The kernel of the problem is that the level of funding being allocated is not in any way sufficient.”

Cllr Padraig Fallon asked if there was additional manpower to complete more work from the waiting list if funding becomes available observing “maybe it is time to tender out works”.

Cllr Sean McDermott suggested that the Council look to hire temporary staff to complete more works off the LIS waiting list.

However these suggestions were rejected by Director of Services, Joseph Gilhooly who pointed out the local authority has no capital spend available to recruit additional staff at the moment.

He also noted it “takes a while to mobilise these schemes (LIS projects)” which mean that even if additional staff were hired it would have little impact this year.”

Mr Gilhooly also said that in future LIS will be tackled on the basis of need, not in chronological order.

However, Cllr Mary Bohan reacted angrily to this pointing out that councillors had not agreed that there would be any change from the current chronological approach.
Part of the problem this year stems from the short time frame the Council has to complete any LIS works.

The Council was asked to submit a list in June, of the LIS projects that could be completed by the end of November.

Senior Engineer, Terry McGovern, explained that Leitrim County Council had estimated they would be able to complete 27 projects at a cost of €335,000.

However the Council was only allocated €233,000 which only leaves the capacity to complete 17 projects off the LIS list in 2021.

Mr McGovern said that “the Department are aware of the waiting list (in Leitrim) and we would need a grant of more than €3m to complete all those works on the list.”

He also pointed out that significant inroads had been made to the waiting list in recent years adding that 80 projects have been completed and others have dropped off the list because they are no longer eligible or required.

Cllr Enda McGloin said it was disappointing that the full amount applied for this year had not been allocated adding that neighbouring counties such as Cavan had a much higher allocation. “Maybe we could liase with them to see what method they used to get funding,” he said.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr Paddy O'Rourke pointed out that Cavan required in the region of €11m to complete its LIS waiting list adding “the funds we were allocated is what we have to work with this year”.

Cllr Brendan Barry asked that the Council take steps to prepare for next year's LIS work and Cathaoirleach Cllr O'Rourke agreed adding that if preparatory work was completed early then the Council “can hit the ground running should funding become available”.

All councillors stressed the importance of securing additional funding to try and clear the current waiting list with many noting that this is an issue which accounts for many of the calls they are receiving from the public.

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