Council calls for pothole action - 'It is like driving in a third world country'

Derry City and Strabane District Councillors voted in favour of writing to the Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon calling for badly needed investment to be allocated for roads in the council area as a matter of urgency.

By Gillian Anderson
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 10:05 am

A notice of motion was brought forward by Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy who said: “We are all aware of the state of the road network in the area and as councillors on the ground one of the issues we deal with on a daily basis is issues relating to the road.

“I know that I certainly will report at least one pothole every day and other road networks that are in urgent need of resurfacing.

“In fact, I probably have been reporting the same roads over the last couple of months but to date apart from a patch here and a fill there, nothing meaningful has been done to address these roads.

The Council has agreed to write to the Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon calling for badly needed investment to be allocated for roads in the council area as a matter of urgency.

“A short drive around the main roads in and out of the city such as the Culmore Road, the Victoria Road, Strand Road, Clooney Road and Crescent Link will demonstrate the unacceptable state of our road network.

“As a council area we have already faced an uphill battle with a huge disparity with what we have been allocated in our area in comparison to Belfast. Even with this challenge we had a programme of work presented to us by the Department at last year’s Road Service meeting but this has been basically set aside.

“I have so many residents who have contacted me complaining about damage to their cars and tyres that need to be replaced.

“Many of these people who have been affected use their cars for work. They are domiciliary carers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, people who are already struggling to make ends meet and a car off the road means a reduction in wages.

“Earlier this year in the budget allocation the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy allocated the Department for Infrastructure an additional £120m to address road maintenance issues.

"Unfortunately then due to a procurement issue and legal challenges the roads surfacing in four council areas has been all but abandoned and one of those areas is Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“We deserve roads that will not damage our cars. We deserve the budget that was promised to be spent and we need the essential maintenance to be carried out.”

Alliance Councillor Philip McKinney agreed with the previous speaker’s sentiments adding: “There are parts of our district where the roads and the traffic system is like driving in a third world country.”

Supporting the motion, DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney said the roads ‘were the worst I have seen them in 20 years.’

Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle described the roads in Galliagh as ‘absolutely awful’.

He said: “We need the resources to be put in place and we need solutions.”

PBP Councillor Maeve O’Neill called it ‘another example of total neglect by the Stormont Executive on the North West.’

Councillors from all parties gave their support and the motion passed unanimously.