‘Roads Service abandoning rural communities’ – Hearty

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Monday, September 7th, 2015
Community, Politics
Sinn Féin Councillor Terry Hearty has blasted Roads Service for “abandoning rural communities.”
Sinn Fein's Terry Hearty

Sinn Fein’s Terry Hearty

Hearty was speaking after a meeting with Roads Service Divisional Manager Simon Richard in which he presented the body’s Annual Spring Report to the Council. The Slieve Gullion representative dismissed the report as a “box ticking exercise” and said rural communities were now paying for the Department’s “gross mismanagement of its budget.” “I was hugely disappointed with Report that Roads Service presented to the council,” he said. “A number of projects which we had identified as priorities had been removed from the report while others had never featured at all. “In particular the junction at Creamery Road leading on to the Newry Road has been removed despite being identified as a priority project for two years. Similarly, the junction at the Lough Ross Road onto the Blaney Road, which we have been campaigning for improvements at for years, wasn’t even mentioned. Hearty continued, “These were key projects which councillors like myself, who live here and listen to the people here, had identified as being of the utmost importance for the safety of motorists and pedestrians and yet some Belfast bureaucrat just dismissed them with the stroke of a pen. “No consultation with local people or representatives, just penny pinching and corner cutting. They claimed to want the feedback of local representatives on priority projects and then they came down here with a nice glossy report that totally dismissed our concerns and suggestions. The whole thing was a farce, a box ticking exercise,” he insisted. “All departments are dealing with budget cuts but none have mismanaged their budgets as badly as Regional Development. Road maintenance is only a tiny part of their budget and yet it seems to be the first thing cut. The Sinn Fein Councillor added, “Rural people are being treated as second class citizens by this department. Right across the south rural communities are organising, standing up together and fighting back. I think it’s high time rural communities in the north stood with them.”

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