Keep up with Armagh i

‘We need answers’ as appalled councillors call for Department to address chronic state of roads

A sandbag inside a pothole on Victoria Street in Lurgan

ABC Councillors have called on the Infrastructure Minister and senior DfI officials to address them directly on the “shocking condition” of local roads.

Councillor Ian Wilson said he was shocked by the seemingly dismissive way in which he and other elected representatives had been treated by a DfI delegation at a recent meeting with them.

Speaking at the full meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council, proposed that Council invite the Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd MLA, and any relevant senior Department officials, to attend a meeting in the chamber, “so we can ask questions and hopefully receive some answers on the situation with DfI, on what the plan is to resolve the shocking condition of our roads”.

“The proposal has come from my meeting with DfI officials in our recent workshop,” he said.

“To say I was shocked, frustrated and disappointed on what I was told when raising issues with our roads and infrastructure is putting it mildly.

“I am sure the majority of elected representatives in this chamber feel the same. This is why I strongly feel that we need some answers.

“When DfI are telling me they are understaffed, and for example one Department should have five road inspectors but have only one in place, this is totally unacceptable.

“This is only a small example of what is wrong. If DfI itself is drastically understaffed, how on Earth can we expect to get anything done or fixed.

“And fixing the situation is what we need. The condition of our roads is ridiculous, and in my opinion many are dangerous.

“Road users deserve better. Not only motorists, but we have motorcyclists and cyclists who run the gauntlet of using our roads on a daily basis.”

The DUP representative felt strongly that representation made by councillors to the statutory body should be given particular attention, given their status as elected representatives with a mandate from voters.

He continued: “The public contact us so we can try and help them, and the roads at the moment is a big issue with my constituents.

“And when you are told by DfI that anything reported by an elected representative is not given any greater recognition by them, in my opinion is shocking.

“Our people elected us to help them and represent them, and the Department should recognise that, not just dismiss our interventions on behalf of the public.”

Alderman Paul Greenfield (DUP, Banbridge DEA) concurred with his party colleague: “I was at the same meeting with Cllr Wilson, as I’m sure many others were, so I’d like to second his proposal there.”

A letter will be sent to DfI, requesting a meeting with Minister O’Dowd and senior DfI officials.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Armagh