Written answers

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Department of Rural and Community Development

Local Authorities

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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48. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her views on the considerable variation in output by local authorities in respect of funding provided under the local improvement scheme; if she and her Department will work with local authorities to bring them all in line with the best performing local authorities in terms of square metres improved per million euro; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26456/24]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Local Improvement Scheme is funded by my Department, but administered by local authorities. This approach sees local authorities identifying priority roads for repair and procuring the works in accordance with public procurement guidelines.

The Deputy has previously raised with me the differences between counties in terms of the number of roads various local authorities have repaired compared to the overall financial allcoations. This of course does not take into account the total area of roads which have been repaired or local conditions.

With this in mind, in 2023 the national average actual cost per square metre of road repaired was €28.46. Within this there is some variation between counties. For example, the average cost in Kerry was almost exactly in line with national average at €28.44 per square metre, whereas in Cork the average cost was slightly higher at €35.23 and in Galway it was slightly lower at €22.89 per square metre.

These figures do not give a full and accurate comparison of how the scheme is being implemented in different counties however. It should be kept in mind that there many factors which could underpin differing levels of square metre cost in different counties. These can include geographic factors such as the elevation, exposure or remoteness of roads being repaired. Similarly, the condition of the roads selected for repair in given counties can differ, and it would be expected that roads experiencing very severe deterioration would cost more to repair than those in need of minor repair. Finally, the cost of materials and the availability of contractors can differ between counties, and these factors can also have an impact on the cost per square metre of roads repaired.

My Department does, however, continue to liaise with local authorities to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the Scheme. In addition, the requirement for local authorities to abide by procurement procedures and the inspection regime implemented by my Department also help to support the delivery of value for money.

I have recently announced record levels of funding for the scheme, with €40m being allocated to local authorities over the years 2024 and 2025, and I remain committed to ensuring that the Scheme is funded into the future.


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