IFA Deputy President & Countryside Chairman Eddie Downey has strongly criticised local authorities for their failure to provide basic maintenance of rural roads, including those in Offaly.
He said, “The state of disrepair of rural roads in some areas across the country are a disgrace. There are roads which are almost impossible to travel and pose road safety issues”.
In a clear warning to local authorities that this cannot and will not be tolerated, Eddie Downey said farmers and rural dwellers have a basic right to have rural roads maintained.
Mr Downey said, “Properly-maintained roads are critical to doing business. The agri-food industry is the country’s largest indigenous industry, employing over 300,000 people. The vast majority of these people are employed in rural Ireland. The failure to maintain a basis service such as an adequate road network will have a negative impact on the competitiveness and future growth of the sector.”
He added, “This is now causing significant road safety issues, with members reporting that stretches of road where the surface has fallen away and is in urgent need of repair. It is now time for local authorities to step up to their responsibilities, repair these roads and ensure that farmers and rural dwellers can commute safely to and from their homes.”
The Deputy President called on the Road Safety Authority to urgently carry out a full safety assessment of rural roads to establish the extent of the problem.
“I have written to the Chief Executive of the RSA seeking the compilation of a comprehensive audit on the condition of our rural roads. This is a serious safety issue and we need to see the Road Safety Authority highlighting it,” he concluded