Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's border roads pothole scourge leaves residents 'shortchanged'


Pics of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.
Pics of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.
Pics of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.
Allan Preston

BY Allan Preston

Ratepayers in Northern Ireland's border areas are being “shortchanged” when it comes to road repairs, it has been claimed.

It comes as pictures emerged of pothole-ravaged roads in Co Armagh.

SDLP councillor Thomas O’Hanlon posted shocking images of roads at Derrynoose that had fallen into disrepair, and he said many others were suffering neglect in areas like Middletown, Keady and Tassagh.

Official figures show the amount of compensation for damage caused by road defects is rising.

“If you talk to any representative in a border area you’ll hear the same thing,” Mr O’Hanlon said.

“As these are small back roads with a low volume of traffic they’re deemed as low priority.

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Pictures of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.

“But this causes damage to cars and vehicles, and often you’ll find that those who live in rural areas will pay substantial rates, often higher than those in urban areas, but they aren’t getting the same government services.”

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He added: “Local residents feel they’re getting shortchanged. It’s not just the lack of repair and maintenance, but there’s also issues with drainage and water lying on the roads which only worsens the problem.”

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Pics of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.

As the winter months approach, Mr O’Hanlon said the road network could crumble even further.

After meeting with a section engineer from Roads Service on Friday, he was told efforts were being made to get some investment locally.

“I hope this will pick up on some of the issues that we raised.”

In August the Belfast Telegraph reported how £850,220 was paid out in compensation for vehicle damage in the last year.

Five years ago the figure was just £163,580

The number of claims for damage has also risen considerably, from 599 in 2014/15 to over 3,000 in 2017/18.

That number fell slightly last year to 2,441, but the overall cost of the claims saw a sharp increase, though the department said a large number of claims can carry over from one financial year to the next before being settled.

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Pics of roads in Derrynoose, Co Armagh posted by SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon.

Earlier this year a report revealed it would cost £1.2bn to bring our roads up to an acceptable standard. The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) warned that spending on the road network here has been running around £50m per year less than what is required.

The Department for Infrastructure have been contacted for a comment.

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