Councillor questions overfunded work

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

CAt a time when budgets are so tight, Fianna Fail Cllr. Gerry Crawford wants to know why the Department of Transport allocated Donegal County Council far more than they requested for a bridge in the Glenties Electoral Area.

CAt a time when budgets are so tight, Fianna Fail Cllr. Gerry Crawford wants to know why the Department of Transport allocated Donegal County Council far more than they requested for a bridge in the Glenties Electoral Area.

The local authority has not been able to spend the entire allocation on the Glenties bridge this year, though council is in talks with the department, seeking sanction to retain and make use of the money on other works.

“Why was it not put in an area such as Stranorlar, where it could easily be spent?” Cllr. Crawford asked at the November meeting of Donegal County Council.

The council had applied for about €80,000 to progress work this year on the Mullantyboyle bridge near Glenties, but received about €350,000 for the work this year. The overall cost for the two-year project is about €300,000, but council had sought the smaller sum because they were not in a position to complete the entire project in one year.

Cllr. Crawford said there was no blame on the council, but questions remain. “Why would the department see fit to allocate money that wasn’t requested to an area and still leave areas like Stranorlar short?” Cllr. Crawford asked. “While it wouldn’t have met all the needs, it certainly would have met some of the demands of the roads network in Stranorlar.”

Stranorlar area councillors have long complained about the low roads funding they receive, relative to the need for improvements.

At the council meeting John McLaughlin, director of roads and transportation, told Cllr. Crawford the council was in talks with the department regarding council use of the money on other projects. He said the council had not received a formal response regarding why they received more than they had sought.

Cllr. Crawford’s party colleague, Charlie McConalogue, TD for Donegal North East, submitted a parliamentary question on the matter earlier this year, and while the response detailed the allocations, it did not explain why the allocation was made.