*Labasheeda. Photograph: WestClare.net
250 applications are with Clare County Council for the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) but only 30 are expected to be completed in 2019.
Funding is provided to County Councils across the country to carry out improvement works on private and non-publicly maintained roads under the LIS. In 2018, €482,000 was allocated to Clare County Council’s four Municipal Districts with 13 projects completed over twelve months. 65% of the expenditure went to West Clare, 15% to Killaloe, 11% to Shannon and 9% to Ennis. Though it the shortest stretch of road to have works done the 100m at Blean, Kildysart had the highest bill of €72,384.
This year, €480,811 has been set aside for Clare County Council in the LIS. At the beginning of the month the local authority had “250 applications on hand”, 185 of which are in the West Clare MD, 41 in the Killaloe MD, 21 in the Ennis MD and 3 in the Shannon MD. All 250 are being assessed with a list of prioritised works for funding to be submitted by April 1st. An invitation has been extended to local authorities to submit additional prioritised roads should extra funding be available.
According to John Corry, Meetings Administrator of the West Clare MD, “The criteria used in determining the priority afforded to grant applications is a matter for the local authority staff” and will consider the amount of residents and landowners being served by the road, its length, the extent of works required and special circumstances such as “hardship cases, disabled applicants and the condition of the road”.
Though it has a smaller allocation this year, the Council expect to complete 17 more projects. “Clare County Council would be hopeful of undertaking a total of 30 projects in total in 2019, similar to 2018”, Corry stated.
Cllr PJ Kelly requested a report on various aspects of the LIS scheme in the county at the West Clare MD’s March meeting which he received from Mr Corry. “What it reveals is interesting but what it conceals is vital,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said. “It’s very disappointing but it proves the old point rural Ireland is no priority when it comes to investment. It is extremely disappointing to see West Clare is the poor relation when it comes to spending money”. Along with Cllr Christy Curtin, he asked that the details provided by forwarded to Clare’s Oireachtas members.