*Jack Chambers TD.
A JUNIOR MINISTER in the Department of Transport has said he is willing to meet Clare councillors over their frustrations on road maintenance budgets and Active Travel allocations.
Elected representatives in the West Clare Municipal District and Killaloe Municipal District have been seething over changes to the Active Travel allocations this year which has seen an emphasis on urban rather than rural projects.
This has hindered the amount of funding they have received for footpath and lighting works in East, North and West Clare.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Minister of State at the Department of Transport with special responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Jack Chambers (FF) felt a balance needed to be found between County Councils and the National Transport Authority.
He stated, “The NTA coordinate that with the Council, there is ongoing collaboration, thankfully the Councils have really responded to the increased Active Travel allocations. It is a case of trying to strike a balance on their demands and what is available to different counties, we’ve seen huge resilience and adaptability of Councils to get the work done and they have a lot of ambition to do more. I encourage the NTA and the Council to work through the different demands and put plans in place accordingly”.
During his visit to Co Clare, the Minister of State along with Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) and Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) examined road junctions causing safety concerns. He said he would be reverting to the Department of Transport with his findings.
Kilrush based Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) is among those who have sought for the Junior Minister to meet with elected representatives locally to discuss their frustration on the lack of finance set aside at a national level to allow Councils undertake road maintenance works.
In response to this, Chambers commented, “We will always meet and discuss with our Council colleagues. I’ve met with the Clare councillors on a number of occasions, I know there is another concern on maintenance of our road network particularly in rural areas, I’m cognisant of the bad weather this year, there is an anxiety in counties to see improved allocations there. We will take all that back, there’s competing demands for capital allocations but I’m always happy to engage and work with councillors on areas of priority to them”.
On Thursday evening, he was in Killaloe meeting with volunteers of the Killaloe Coast Guard. “We’re keen to progress the acquisition of a site for the Coast Guard unit and the volunteers there, we commend them for their dedication and commitment 24/7, it was good to engage with them,” he added.