Dempsey’s road safety U-turn will cost jobs & cost lives
Noel Dempsey has abandoned plans announced just two months ago to upgrade roads around the country in a move which will inevitably cost jobs and could cost lives as a result of further blackspot accidents, Dan Neville TDhas warned. The €18,330,598 promised in February for Co Limerick now looks to be slashed.
“Minister Dempsey has done a complete U-turn on road safety and maintenance. Last February he unveiled a huge programme to repair Ireland’s network of local and regional roads. At the time he said: ‘the Programme involves projects in all areas that support employment and economic activity’.
“Yet with unemployment set to reach half a million, he has ignored the massive job-creation potential of this programme and cut €150 million from the maintenance budget for local roads. This will have a significant impact on employment and economic activity in literally every county in Ireland. The local road programme would have provided much needed construction jobs in every town in the country during these tough times. It would have improved access, encouraged economic activity and addressed dangerous roads.
“This will also have an impact on road safety. The programme would have removed most or all accident blackspots through upgrade works. At this stage in the 21st century there simply shouldn’t be any accident blackspots in Ireland. These rural roads also see the largest number of fatal accidents, over 70% in 2007 according to the Road Safety Authority. But thanks to the current Minister for Transport, some of the most dangerous stretches of Irish road will remain in place for years to come.
“These roads are the economic arteries of local communities. Local and regional roads account for 94% of the Irish network. They carry about 60% of all traffic and 43% of all goods traffic. They are vital to local economies.
“This Budget cut smacks of a decision by an ill-informed bureaucrat suffering from tunnel vision, far removed for the realities of local economies and communities. The decision has much in common with the rest of the flawed April Budget as it suppresses economic activity and does nothing to encourage or create new jobs.”