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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business
Wednesday 1 February 2017


 

“That Dáil Éireann:
notes:
—  that there are almost 91,000 kilometres of regional and local roads in Ireland, which account for 94 per cent of the country’s roads network and which carry around 54 per cent of all road traffic;

—  the importance of regional and local roads which are crucial to economic activity and essential for balanced regional development;

—  that good quality regional and local roads are essential for social inclusion, providing vital linkages among communities and between communities, their towns and larger urban centres;

—  the shortage of outdoor council staff who have not been replaced;

—  the importance of the speedy delivery of the planned upgrading of our national road network, for both the economy and a more balanced spatial distribution;

—  that according to the latest National Oversight and Audit Commission, the kilometres of all road types mapped to date indicate that 81.6 per cent of all regional roads, 87.1 per cent of all primary roads, 92 per cent of all secondary roads and 93.2 per cent of all tertiary roads fall outside of the best grouped condition rating category, many of which fall in the worst grouped condition rating category;

—  that large segments of the national road network will be overloaded and operating above capacity and safe levels by 2030, if traffic volumes continue to grow; and

—  that the growing congestion problems are the result of significant underinvestment in transport infrastructure over successive decades;
acknowledges:

—  the commitments given in the Programme for a Partnership Government to increase the capital budget for regional and local roads by approximately 50 per cent;

—  the publication of the Action Plan for Rural Development commitment to progress the major roads projects detailed in the seven year transport element of the Capital Investment Plan 2016 - 2021, which will help deliver economic and business benefits across rural areas and regions; and

—  that world class road infrastructure is vital to build a stronger economy and is essential to the future of regional and rural development, particularly in terms of attracting investment, enterprise, tourism and the agri-food industries; and

calls on the Government to:

—  consider increasing the regional and local roads budget as part of the Capital Investment Plan 2016 - 2021, in the context of the mid-term capital review which is underway;

—  ensure that Transport Infrastructure Ireland and local authority funding is examined in the course of the expenditure review, with a view to being progressively resourced to ensure proactive national road project planning to increase the pipeline of essential roads projects, so that sufficient numbers of projects are brought through the planning and design stages and ready for construction as funding becomes available;

—  accelerate support for the safety improvement schemes for dangerous junctions and bends, particularly where serious accidents and fatalities have occurred;

—  continue funding, to enable the restoration of class 3/cul-de-sac roads;

—  ensure continuation of Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais (CLÁR) funding for disadvantaged areas;

—  require local authorities to examine speed limits on all regional and local roads, and to ensure the process of adjusting speed limits continues to engage with local communities;

—  ensure that local authorities take responsibility for ensuring that drainage, hedge cutting and the removal of overhanging trees are carried out where appropriate, in the interests of road safety, and to reduce damage caused to large vehicles particularly buses, lorries and agricultural machinery;

—  urgently address road safety issues involving wild animals, such as deer, in co-operation with local authorities and other public bodies;

—  undertake swift implementation of the commitment contained in the Action Plan for Rural Development, to examine the scope for increased investment in regional roads in the context of the review of the Capital Investment Plan 2016 - 2021, which will take place shortly; and

—  reinstate a separate grant allocation to the Local Improvement Scheme, as funding becomes available, to support the upgrading and repair of non-local authority roads.” — Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins, Noel Grealish, Michael Harty, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael J. Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry.