Wednesday, 10 November 2004
Michael Kitt (Fianna Fail)
I thank the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Batt O'Keeffe, for attending the House to deal with this matter which I have tried to raise on the Adjournment over the past several weeks. It calls for the practical introduction of by-laws to allow telephone and electricity poles to be moved when roads are widened or bad bends are removed. It was not a difficulty to have such poles removed 15 or 20 years ago. However, that was at the time of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and when semi-State bodies were not as commercially-orientated as they are now. It now costs approximately €2,000 to move one of these poles. There is need for co-operation between local authorities and the semi-State bodies on this issue. Failing this, by-laws should be introduced. There are examples of successful community involvement schemes where a 50% contribution to costs has been made by communities, whether through land or tractors and trailers removing clay. On many regional roads, unsightly poles remain where the road has been widened or a bad bend removed, posing a danger to road users.
I hope the Minister will introduce by-laws or engage with the local authorities and the semi-State bodies to ensure that these high charges to move a pole will not be imposed on communities. This has been highlighted in Galway County Council where all the councillors elected last June have raised this issue. I hope the Minister can find some way to remove these poles without imposing the expense on communities.