Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed a commitment from the DFI Minister Nichola Mallon to set up a roads recovery fund for 2021-22 which would prioritise the maintenance of rural roads.
Mr McAleer said: “As an MLA who represents a large rural constituency, potholes and the state of rural roads are huge issues.
“I frequently engage with the local DFI Section office who are very helpful and responsive, but I took the opportunity this week to raise the matter directly with the DFI Minister Nichola Mallon during Question time.
“In her response, Minister Mallon acknowledged that many rural roads are in need of repair and pointed out that she allocated £10 million of last year’s capital budget to rural roads, which enabled repairs to be carried out at 750 locations.
“The Minister also confirmed that she is finalising her 2021-22 budget and committed to setting up a further roads recovery fund from this budget to improve connectivity and help rural communities.
“I reminded Minister Mallon of the 2019 Audit Office report which recommended a fairer allocation for the rural road network from the structural maintenance budget.
“The Minister assured me that her officials have undertaken to implement these recommendations and she will update me on progress.
“The condition of local roads is a major issue in rural areas.
“The local DFI Section offices are doing their best to maintain the network but they need the additional finance and resources to meet demand.
“I welcome the Minister’s commitment to a renewed roads recovery fund and I hope that this will deliver some improvements to our local network”.