OFFALY County Council has met with the local Irish Farmers Association representatives to discuss the treatment of roads in their areas if the county is to experience freezing weather conditions, similar to last year.
Outlining the details of the new publication ‘Be Winter Ready’, published by the Office of Emergency Planning, Mr Frank Heslin, Director of Services confirmed that the Council met with the IFA and advised them if there are difficult areas, not handled by the local authority, during the harsh weather that they should get together and treat the roads they felt needed it.
However, the County Councillors were told that the Council is not in a position to provide the farmers with material for treatment purpose and the farmers would have to acquire it themselves if they wish to treat the roads.
Fianna Fail Councillor, Ger Plunkett raised the issue of the treatment of roads around the county’s schools during the harsh weather and suggested that a gesture of salt could be given to the schools .
However, Mr Heslin explained that Offaly County Council will be bearing the cost of any additional salt used on non national routes in the county and the money would be taken out of the Council’s road budget allocation. The Director of Services said the Council will be allocating ‘resources based on need’ in the event of freezing weather conditions.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Councillor, Tommy McKeigue urged caution on the type of salt being used by the Council as he pointed out the condition some of the concrete footpaths were left in after they came in contact with the salt last year. Independent Cllr John Leahy complimented the publication, saying it would help communities be ‘self sufficient’. And, he asked that it be opened up to more organisations. Fine Gael Councillor, Percy Clendennen pointed out the huge problems experienced by many small villages last year.
“We should have more co-operation with the local farmers,” the County Councillor added.