In a broad-ranging discussion about the works programme for 2018, Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District councillors were informed that a bypass for Carrick-on-Shannon is not included on any programme at the moment, despite publicity to the contrary.
Shay O'Connor, Senior Engineer, Roads, told the members at their latest meeting that despite announcements at the Project Ireland 2040 plan Carrick-on-Shannon is not on any programme, as yet.
He explained there are 15 to 20 schemes seeking funding but only six or seven are going to be advanced.
He said there has been a lot of publicity on it and a lot of expectation but the bypass is not on a programme yet.
He said this year there are plans in place to overlay the road surface from the Attifinlay Roundabout to the county boundary at the bridge, as well as an overlay on the Jamestown/Drumsna Bypass.
Mr O'Connor said consultants have been engaged and their report will be submitted to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for approval. He said he expects the preliminary results by this week and there is a good chance the work will take place later this year.
Two bridges in the district have been earmarked for funding to carry out repair works. They are Drumhauver Bridge near Drumshanbo and Battlebridge.
A specific grant of €200,000 has been received for a detailed design of a new bridge at Hartley. Planning permission for a new bridge was granted some 10 or 12 years ago.
Funding has been received under the Towns and Villages Enhancement Scheme for a footpath in Leitrim Village from Church Road to Lock 16.
There is nothing in this year's budget for new footpaths or new public lighting.
Cllr Sinead Guckian said the Carrick-on-Shannon District received the lowest allocation last year and she had called for the Chief Executive to come before them to explain the methodology used.
She pointed out that seven years ago the Council was getting €14m in funding and are nearly €5m down on that allocation this year.
Cllr Guckian expressed surprise in relation to Carrick-on-Shannon Bypass as it was specifically mentioned in the Government's recent launch. “We will be lucky to have our bypass by 2040,” she said, adding that they are “still in a very unacceptable place regards roads funding.”
Cllr Sean McGowan said the executive needs to put more pressure on the Department of Transport regarding Carrick-on-Shannon Bypass. He said the plans to upgrade the section of the N4 from Mullingar to Rooskey as well as the Castlebaldwin to Collooney section will see all traffic on the route converge on Carrick-on-Shannon.
He expressed his disappointment that Rooskey Bridge has again received no funding. It was deemed a priority as far back as 2009, he said, and noted that Minister Naughten had met with the community there last year about the issue.
Cllr Des Guckian said the basics were being ignored and he could see nothing more basic than resurfacing the lanes and byroads in the locality.
He said the Council were refusing to finish the Derrycarne road and Derrywillow Lane, which he claimed was the busiest lane in Ireland, saying it was recently patched by the Council but it was “a poor job.”
Cllr Guckian described it as “discrimination of the worst kind” and said two roads he had nominated were “just ignored.”
He also stated that he was not in favour of any extension to “the faulty Dromod/Rooskey Bypass.”
Cllr Guckian queried why so much was being earmarked for walking trails and stated that charity should begin at home. “We should cater for the people who live here first and then the tourists. Our voice in Leitrim is not being heard,” he said.
Cllr Enda Stenson said that rural areas deserve the same recognition as towns and villages.
He too said he was confused about a bypass or ring road for Carrick-on-Shannon. He thought it was clearly stated the town was going to get the new road. Members of the government party specifically mentioned it after the launch in Sligo, he said.
He said that Boyle Municipal District have to take the matter seriously as well and he didn't think they were.
In relation to the overall picture, Cllr Stenson said what has been allocated to them was “not good enough to maintain our roads.”
He also raised the issue of forestry companies “destroying rural roads” and said they were not contributing enough to the repair of the roads.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Seadhna Logan thanked Mr O'Connor and his team for their work and for the fair spread of work across the municipal district in 2018.