Minister for Transport Shane Ross
Positive news has emerged from the meeting between Ballinamore Councillors and Minister for Transport Shane Ross yesterday Wednesday, July 26 in Leinster House over funding for roads.
Six Councillors from the Ballinamore area met with the Minister to discuss the provision of funding of local roads, particularly the reinstatement of Local Improvement Schemes and Community Involvement Schemes.
Minister Ross accepted an invitation to come to Leitrim and view the local roads himself, he is expected to arrive in the county later this Summer.
The Minister was informed that as the most sparsely populated county in Ireland, Leitrim has by far the longest road network per capita, which puts extraordinary pressure on the county's finances. He was also told that there are currently 205 roads awaiting approval under the local improvement scheme averaging a cost of €25,000 bringing our arrears to over €5.1m.
According to sources, Minister Ross was impressed by the argument for LISs and CISs in Leitrim and said that the reintroduction of funding for these schemes was an aim under the programme for government. He could foresee new funding happening in the next year or so. He also said that the expenditure on the nations transport infrastructure was insufficient presently but that this trend would be reversed in 2018-19.
Councillors who attended were John McCartin FG, Gerry Dolan IND, Paddy O'Rourke FF, Cillian Ellis FF, Brendan Barry SF and Caroline Mulvey SF. Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny who arranged the meeting also attended.
Deputy Kenny said, “The reinstatement of these schemes is in the Programme for Government and there are a large number of roads that fall into these categories in County Leitrim.
“The councillors from the area stressed to Minister Ross, the urgency of having these schemes reinstated and gave detailed accounts of situations where people have been waiting for years to have their roads resurfaced.
“Minister Ross acknowledged the particular problems of Leitrim due to it being so rural and having a low rates base. While not giving a firm promise on the issue the minister accepted that the commitment was in the Programme for Government and told the councillors that he would do everything he could to have a provision in the overall roads budget for CISs and LISs in the coming year.”
The meeting has been hailed as a success for Leitrim.