Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Road Repairs.

8.

asked the Minister for the Environment if he will now make a special allocation to Cork County Council to enable urgently needed works to be carried out to county roads e.g. filling of potholes, cleaning of gulleys.

Road grants are not made available for maintenance works on county roads. I have no proposals to extend the conditions attaching to road grants to provide for the maintenance of county roads, the financing of which is one for the local authority to determine within their general resources.

Is the Minister aware of the condition of the roads in his county?

I believe so.

Does he believe that in principle more money should be made available for the improvement of county roads? The Minister of State and myself have argued that the county roads should be the subject of a special grant.

I have already said that I do not propose to alter the conditions under which money is allocated for road maintenance and improvement.

Does that mean there will not be any extra money in the coming year? Does the Minister agree in principle that there should be extra money available?

Of course I do. I am all in favour of virtue and I am against sin.

We are both sinners, but that is beside the point. The ordinary county roads are deteriorating, especially in County Cork. I am asking the Minister whether he believes in principle that money should be provided for their improvement. He is not answering that question.

Of course I believe that more money should be allocated for roads; but there will always be a limitation on the money provided for anything, whether in a good year or in a bad year. The present rules state that money for the improvement of county roads should be provided from within the resources of the local authorities and I do not propose to change that.

Do I understand that the Minister will not change that position in the coming year?

There will not be any changes this year.

The Minister must be worried about the state of the roads in County Cork.

I am very worried about them, but this situation did not arise within the past nine months.

Perhaps it started as far back as 1973 or 1974.

We might argue about that too.

The Minister should drive on those roads some day.

I drive on them every day of the week.

We cannot have a debate on this matter. Question No. 9.

(Interruptions.)

I suggest another forum for the discussion of this Cork problem.