Urgent measures are needed to keep Leitrim's cross-border roads open after Brexit

Leonie McKiernan

Reporter:

Leonie McKiernan

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Leitrim County Council needs to take measures now to ensure that the county’s cross border roads remain open post-Brexit negotiations.
At the Monday’s Manorhamilton Municipal District meeting, Cllr Padraig Fallon asked “what steps have been taken to ensure border roads linking north Leitrim with neighbouring communities in Fermanagh, remain open after Brexit.”
A spokesperson for the Council assured members the local authority is, and will continue to, engage in all “national and regional discussions in regard to Brexit. Border crossings continue to be part of matters of concern pending further clarity on the post Brexit situation.”
Leitrim has five roads which cross between north Leitrim and Co Fermanagh. None of them are major routes but Cllr Fallon pointed out that each of them is a “vital link” between Leitrim and its neighbour.
In the troubles all roads from Leitrim to Northern Ireland were closed leaving communities travelling miles out of the county to try and access Northern Ireland, he said.
This divided not only farmland and regions, but also communities.
“It would be terrible to see this happening again after so much work has been undertaken to bring communities back together,” he added.
“I think we need to act on this now (as a Council),” he said.
Cllr Sean McDermott, backed the call adding he was at a recent meeting on Brexit in Ballyshannon and the overwhelming fear for politicians and people was the possible closure of roads between the North and the South.
“Brexit was something that happened for political gain (in the UK) and it probably backfired. This whole deal has implications for North and South.
Cllr Justin Warnock said the Council should make it clear “no road will be closed under any circumstances.”
“The minute one road is closed we will see trouble again. You can see that. I honestly believe that an injustice was done to Ireland in all of this. We have to depend on Europe to tell us what is going to happen in our own country. It is unbelievable.”
Senior Engineer with Leitrim County Council, Shay O’Connor, said the local authority will continue to engage in all discussions on Brexit.
“Recently there was a request from the Department of Transport for us to send details on the roads, locations, type of roads and road numbers of those roads crossing the border. This is the only discussion on roads that I am aware of,” he said.
“That is the concern,” said Cllr Fallon. “None of these roads are major routes and the fear is that the less important roads could be closed.”