Donegal County Council has identified 27 dangerous roads around the county on which the council plans to carry out low cost safety remedial works next year.
The majority of the roads identified are in the Stranorlar Electoral Area (8) followed by Inishowen (6), Glenties (5), Letterkenny (4) and Donegal (4).
They include roads such as the Paddy Harte Road in Letterkenny, pedestrian facilities in the Diamond in Donegal Town, pedestrian facilities on Bundoran’s Main Street, Falcarragh crossroads, Dreenan Junction in Stranorlar, traffic calming measures in Newtowncunningham and the creation of a one-way system in Dungloe.
Other projects include traffic claming measures in Termon and improvements to the junction in Kilmacrennan onto the N56 road and safety works to the dangerous bend near An Chuirt Hotel in Bunbeg.
The total cost of the schemes is around €660,000 and applications are due to be made by next month to the Department of Environment.
However, at Monday’s council meeting in Lifford an irate Cllr. Barry O’Neill from Ballyshannon objected strongly to the list of projects drawn up claiming councillors hadn’t been properly consulted. He claimed the report was being ‘rammed through’ by the executive.
“How can we put something through when we haven’t discussed it at any level. To me it is all very blasé and I object strongly with this application being made to the Department without full discussion as I have one area I have a difficulty with,” he said.
Fianna Fáil Councillor David Alcorn said he had total confidence in the council staff to prepare a thorough report.
“During tough economic times I hope we don’t leave ourselves in a situation where we could lose funding as a result of any delays,” he said.
“The criteria stacks up due to the number of accidents at the locations identified. I propose we go ahead and maybe next year we could draw up a format to bring it before Electoral Area meetings,” he added.
However, Cllr. O’Neill said the report was ‘being rammed’ through without adequate discussion but Cllr Patrick McGowan said this was not political or parochial.
“It may be a low cost scheme but there is nothing low cost about somebody being killed or injured. We shouldn’t jeopardise the funding,” he said.
Fianna Fail party whip, Councillor Ciaran Brogan said the concerns of one member should not hold up an application that would benefit the whole county. “Common sense has to prevail and the application should be allowed to go forward,” he said.
Cllr. Ian McGarvey said the funding was critical and shouldn’t be jeopardised in any way.
Director of Services, Mr James Boyle, said the timing of calls for applications was critical.
“We have to be prepared to get applications in on time. There is no meeting now until September so we have to be prepared. We can meet with members to discuss particular concerns and see if that can be included or added as an additional scheme,” he said.
“Sometimes difficulties arise in schemes so there is scope to add other projects if something falls by the wayside in the interim,” he said.
Cllr. O’Neill asked why such vital funding had not been discussed with members.
Council Engineer, Jimmy Gallagher said the timeline was a difficulty while County Manager, Mr Seamus Neely said there was no intention to ‘ram’ anything through.
“A lot of work has gone into this and I’d ask the report to go ahead,” he said.
Cllr O’Neill said it was extraordinary and a sad day for the council that they had no input into an application being made for over €660,000 in funding.
“I’ll be raising my concerns with the Minister,” he said.