The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants. Donegal County Council has been allocated over €22.4 million from my Department to supplement its own input for 2013.
My Department recently launched a pilot Community Involvement Scheme for works on regional and local roads. This scheme is aimed at works on local roads which would only be considered for funding towards the end of a Council’s road programme after more heavily trafficked routes had been dealt with. This is a voluntary scheme and is available to give local communities the opportunity to have these works completed where they would not normally be considered for funding. Applications closed earlier this year and allocations have been made. Its uptake will be examined later this year and assessed for its potential to continue beyond 2013.
With regard to private roads, the improvement and maintenance of these roads are in the first instance a matter for the landowner. Local authorities may however provide assistance to the public for these private roads under the Local Improvements Schemes. Local authorities may use up to 7% of their Discretionary Grant towards such schemes should they wish. It is important to reiterate that the role of Exchequer grants for regional and local roads is to supplement Councils like Donegal County Council in their spending in this area. I have regular discussions with my colleagues in Government in relation to the road network and road grants and this has included both the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the Minister of State at that Department.