The Cork County Council Roads and Transportation Committee is to consider providing free salt to Housing Estates for gritting during extreme weather events. A cross section of Cllrs at Monday’s Sitting of full Council told the Executive that the cost of salting inaccessible Estates should be borne by the Local Authority.
The Cllrs who supported the Motion, tabled by Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus McGrath, said it should not amount to a massive sum of money if the service was provided by the Council. Cllr McGrath said the Council’s response to the recent cold snap was not what it should have been, with many routes unpassable until mid-day. He said Council needs to question its response to events that are largely forecasted. Cllr Mary Rose Desmond, who backed her Fianna Fail colleague, said the National Roads Authority or Council should also look at locating salt bins close to slip roads onto primary routes.
Following the events of two weeks ago “cars were stranded for hours along the N28 (Carrigaline – Ringaskiddy road) with nowhere to go. If salt and salt bins were available, we would have seen movement a little quicker” she said. The public representatives also said it is unfair to ask Residents Associations in Housing Estates where people have difficulty entering and leaving during severe weather, to grit their road network, as most would not have the proper gear or facilities to carry out the work. At present Residents Associations and Community Councils are charged €150 for a salt bin and a further €70 for a supply of salt.
In a written response Padraig Barrett the Council’s Director of Services, Roads and Transportation, said “this represents substantial subsidisation of the cost by the Council. Accordingly, it is not proposed to provide bins and salt free of charge, and no funding has been provided for same.”
Cllr McGrath, however, said it is unreasonable to expect residents to free themselves.
“For many years we have not had the ability to go into many Estates to allow the residents exit, especially those located on hills. The least we should do is provide them with the means to free themselves up.”
County Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy said the matter should be discussed at the Council’s Transport Committee as there is a cost involved, but Cllr McGrath was not eager to have this happen.
Cllr McGrath eventually relented stating he expected the issue to be discussed at the next Committee Meeting, with a recommendation brought directly back to Council for ratification.