Daly Says Council’s Response To Cold Spell Was ‘Not Good Enough’

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Deputy Pa Daly.

KERRY’S Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, has called for an urgent review of KCC’s Winter Plan, stating he believed that the cold freeze last week demonstrated the current plan is deficient.

Deputy Pa Daly was referring in particular to some areas of north and mid Kerry where he says there was insufficient resources spent on gritting some routes.

“Kerry County Council’s Winter Plan needs to be revised urgently.  The overall response was simply not good enough,” said Deputy Daly.

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“I would like to credit Roads and Council staff for their efforts in keeping our main roads clear which is essential for emergency vehicles.

“However, too many areas were left out of the plan in the first place and residents were left struggling in dangerous conditions to get to work, school and to medical appointments.  It is not good enough that main routes into Tralee from Causeway and Ballyduff and into Listowel from Ballybunion and Tarbert remained dangerous, only to be added to the plan after the fact.

“I heard from residents of housing estates in Castlemaine and Milltown that were unable to leave their houses for a number of days despite the main roads being passable.  Their own estates were like glass and too dangerous to walk or drive out of.

“These residents would gladly have gritted their own properties but could not get out to access salt.  Better planning would have ensured that these communities and estates had access to enough salt at the start of the freeze to deal with their own areas.

“It is clear that we need a Winter plan for the entire county that covers not just main roads but key roads into towns, and also that we deliver enough sand to local communities to allow them to grit their own roadways and housing estates.

“These are the kinds of services it is fair to expect in return for the property tax we are paying these days.  We need more equipment and more people to assist in keeping our roads safe.  It is notable that Tralee Urban area employed approximately 20 road staff in the early 2000’s; there are presently eight.  Nothing was done to rehire staff who left through attrition or retirement.

“I raised my concerns with the CEO of Kerry County Council and asked that the Winter Plan be revised as a matter of priority,” concluded Deputy Daly.

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