Minister for Transport Shane Ross
Minister for Transport Shane Ross does not want to know about rural lanes and has refused to allocate more money to deal with the massive backlog on the Local Improvement Scheme in Leitrim.
The LIS for non public roads (such as lanes to a number of houses) application process in Leitrim was suspended earlier this year as there are 126 local lanes to be completed.
Independent Cllr Des Guckian called on his colleagues to be “brave” and support his motion urging the chief executive of Leitrim County Council and council officials to demand an extra €20million over five years from the government for the lanes and by-roads of Leitrim at the last meeting of Leitrim County Council.
He said “rural regeneration begins at the gate” and said “every lane should be surfaced every ten years.”
While the motion was supported by councillors, Cllr Mary Bohan said “You don’t need to persuade us, we have spent every year on the council seeking more funding.”
She laid the blame squarely at the feet of Independent Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross.
When a delegation recently met with the minister, Cllr Bohan said he told them the LIS “was not on his agenda.”
She said she had never heard of a minister outright refusing to give money for roads and said he “doesn't care” about rural Leitrim.
She told Cllr Des Guckian to go through the Independent Alliance and ask him to “recognise rural Ireland exists.”
Cllr Guckian said he was not part of that alliance.
Cllr Brendan Barry agreed with Cllr Bohan and complimented Minister Michael Ring on giving some of his budget for local lanes but said the hold up is with Minister Ross.
Cllr Paddy O’Rourke said he does not understand how Minister Ross is getting support by independents locally when he is “failing rural Ireland.”
He said Ballinamore councillors met with Minister Ross and asked him to consider their plight and to visit the county and inspect the roads, but he said neither invitation was taken up.
Director of Services at Leitrim County Council Joseph Gilhooly said funding for LIS ceased in 2011 and recommended in 2017, the list was reduced from 205 to 126 and with more funding work on that list can continue.