MORE FUNDING NEEDED The subject of rising costs was raised by Cllr Christy Hyland at last Monday's meeting of the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District.
A SENIOR council official has said that the 2022 road works programme will be a year like no other due to the rising costs of materials and fuel.
The matter of the rising costs of materials used in the road works programme was raised at yesterday’s meeting of the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District. Councillors adopted the Road Works Programme for 2022, which has a budget of €8.5 million, and is expected to begin later this week.
There are over 1,000km of local roads and 200km of regional roads along with 100km of national roads in the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District, which is one of the biggest in country.
The subject of rising costs of materials and the price of fuel was raised by Cllr Christy Hyland who asked the council executive how it will impact the roads programme.
Head of the Municipal District, Padraig Walsh, told the councillors that he does not think projects will be cut but admitted that some will be curtailed.
“Unless something positive comes out of eastern Europe very quickly there will be a lot of price volatility and it will impact the programme. I have no indication of any supplementary funding being made available and I don’t know if that’s a possibility at all.
“I don’t see a situation where any project will not take place but I see a situation where projects will be curtailed. You may have 1,600 metres of surface dressing and you will have to pull it back by 100 metres because bitumen prices will vary, as will the haulage of chip because of the price of diesel. Costs will change and we will have to respond to that to stay within budget. It may mean some curtailment of individual projects but I cannot see a situation where projects will not happen.
“But obviously we will have to stay within our budget and that will be a challenge by how often prices fluctuate. In terms of road works it will be a year like no other I have experienced,” he warned.
Cllr Hyland replied that if what Mr Walsh is saying comes to pass then he cannot see all the road projects completed as they planned and he called for extra government funding.
“There is no way we can get the roads done we plan to do. It can’t happen so its up to the government to allocate more funding,” he said.
Meanwhile, councillors paid tribute to council engineer, Kieran Lynn who was attending his final council meeting before his retirement.
Cllr Hyland recalled his first meeting with Mr Lynn following his election for the first time when he asked him to do a road and his response proved to be a valuable lesson.
“He was there at his desk and said to me ‘if you get me the millions from the department to do the road, I will do all the roads you want’. That was telling me but I learned a lot from it. I want to thank him for his dedication to his job,” he said.
Director of Services Catherine McConnell thanked Mr Lynn for his decency and being ‘solution focused’.
“They are traits which are hard to be find and they were found in abundance in you,” she said.