Yes, we all know the infamous Irish road and the profound effects that the fixing thereof can have on one’s political career. Indeed, road-fixing has become symbolic of nepotistic parish pump politics. If a politician looking for a vote knocks on your door, congratulations, it’s your lucky day. Depending on how desperate they are, your road might just get fixed. In fact, as we approach election time, I seem to discern a significant increase in road repairs in our area.
So, while people ask me many questions when I go door-to-door, I haven’t been too surprised that once in a while they bring up the state of their road. In many ways that’s natural – you deal with the road every day, so it tends to be on the top of your mind.
What’s more, some of the things people point out to me raise serious concerns about road safety. I think particularly of the many places where the footpath switches side multiple times on busy and bendy roads; where the footpath is extremely narrow and uneven; or where bus-stops are placed in such a way as to require a lot of road-crossing to access. It’s dangerous for pedestrians, especially young people, and nerve-wracking for drivers who are confronted with the possibility of pedestrians crossing a high-speed limit road at unexpected points.
This creates a bit of a dilemma for anyone who goes canvassing: on the one hand, you don’t want to become mired in the client-patron system of ‘fix the road, and I’ll vote for you’; on the other hand, some of the things that have been pointed out to me, really should be fixed in the interests of safety, and since it has been brought to my attention, I now feel responsible to at least try to do something about it. After all, I may be the only person whom the issue has ever been raised with.
Thus, my policy on road-fixing is to funnel all concerns through the appropriate channels in the interests of obtaining a speedy and fair resolution.
So far, all of the road safety issues brought to my attention concern local roads, which fall within the competency of Fingal County Council. Councils finance some road improvement projects from their own funds, but may also receive road grants from the State. So it is the Council’s job to assess, prioritize and execute road maintenance, and it is the job of a TD to ensure that they have all of the resources that they require to do so.
If you have a concern about road safety in the area, you can contact me, in which case I will forward your details to the Independent Councillor for your area. You may also contact your local councillor directly.
Email and telephone numbers for local councillors are available here:
You can also request footpath maintenance here:
Be aware that when an issue is a matter of improvement (rather than urgent repairs), it is unlikely to produce instantaneous results. However, it is still very important to raise these issues, as a good awareness of the local situation can help your councillors when applying for additional funds through grant schemes. Put simply: you won’t get funding to fix a problem, if no one is aware that it exists. So don’t hesitate to put an issue forward.
Photo: “The Border on Killeen School Road” by Oliver Dixon – used under Creative Commons license