Council passes motion asking for road care to be transferred amid ‘maintenance crisis’

Potholes in Pomeroy that led to this motion
Potholes in Pomeroy that led to this motion

Mid Ulster District Council is to ask the Executive if powers over rural roads can be transferred amid a “crisis in maintenance”.

Sinn Fein’s Cathal Mallaghan, along with councillors from every party in the chamber, hit out at the state of Mid Ulster’s roads and the length of time it is taking to get them fixed.

Angry at the three months it took to fix a road that was pitted with potholes in Pomeroy, Cllr Mallaghan asked for council’s support in bringing the issue to Stormont.

Voted through by a majority despite the failure of an amendment by the DUP’s Cllr McLean, the motion calls on Road’s Minister Michelle McIlveen to meet with council to see evidence that “our rural roads are no longer safe to travel on”.

Speaking in support of his motion, Cllr Mallaghan said: “The service by TransportNI is failing the people in our constituency.”

Hitting out at the lack of “democracy in road fixing”, he went on to say that potholes have to be 16 inches deep before they are fixed on B roads, and taxpayers have had to fund £500,000 worth of damage caused to cars in the area by potholes.

“Imagine what half a million pounds would do in terms of repairs,” he added.

But councillors from areas covered by the Cookstown branch of TransportNI found that they had much more to complain about than those administered to by Dungannon.

Having dealt with both offices, the SDLP’s Cllr Malachy Quinn said it took Cookstown much longer to respond when potholes were reported.

“There is a stark contrast between Cookstown Road Services and Dungannon,” he explained. “Dungannon have it fixed in two hours - Cookstown can take two weeks.”

Bellaghy’s Cllr Caoimhe O’Neill raised the issue of crumbling and broken footpaths, while the motion also suggested that council begins an awareness campaign on how to report road damage or claim compensation for damage to vehicles.