‘We need answers’ as dismayed councilors call on ministry to address chronic road condition – Armagh I

A sandbag inside a pothole on Victoria Street in LurganA sandbag inside a pothole on Victoria Street in Lurgan

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

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

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

“The proposal came from my meeting with DfI officials at our recent workshop,” he said.

“To say I was shocked, frustrated and disappointed by what I was told raising issues regarding our roads and infrastructure is an understatement.

“I’m sure the majority of elected officials in this room feel the same way. This is why I am convinced that we need answers.

“When the DfI tells me that they are understaffed and that, for example, a department should have five road inspectors but only have one, that is completely unacceptable.

“This is just a small example of what is wrong. If DfI itself is woefully understaffed, how can we expect anything to be done or fixed?

“And fixing the situation is what we need.” The state 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 face the daily challenge of using our roads.

The DUP representative insisted that the representation of councilors before the statutory body should be given particular attention, given their status as elected representatives mandated by voters.

He continued: “The public are contacting us so we can try to help them, and roads are a big issue for my constituents at the moment.

“And when DfI tells you that anything reported by an elected official does not receive greater recognition from them, in my opinion that is shocking.

“Our people elected us to help and represent them, and the ministry should recognize this, and not just dismiss our interventions on behalf of the public.

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

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

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