With Northern Ireland's roads going to pot, angry Kieran decides to say it with flowers
A Newry man who's had his fill of craters on Northern Ireland's dodgy roads has launched a 'sponsor a pothole' drive to shame the Government into sorting out the mess.
Kieran Hanna's tongue-in-cheek social media campaign has gone viral with a veritable traffic jam of hits online to see a flowering plant he left in his 'sponsored' pothole.
Kieran ran into trouble on the Carrickcruppen Road earlier this week as he drove his daughter Rachel (9) to school in Camlough. He said he didn't see the "massive and lonely" hole which wrecked his tyre - but more problems lay ahead.
"I discovered that the lovely new alloy at the front left side of my Volkswagen Caddy was buckled," said Kieran from the A1 motor auctions firm.
After getting the bill for a new alloy, Kieran decided to put his foot down and the seeds were sown for his floral fightback. He said: "I went to B&Q and bought a nice wee plant to show people that the pothole was there."
He posted pictures of his pothole's potted plant on Facebook with the hashtag #sponsorapothole and the idea took root.
Soon other motorists put up photos of them watering Kieran's plant. And a number of drivers steered in behind his campaign for other road-users to sponsor different potholes.
Kieran, who urged people to "help the roads service until Arlene and Michelle etc get this thing sorted out", said he never expected so many people to back him.
"At the last count there were over 3,500 likes on the Facebook page which had been shared 1,500 times with nearly as many comments," he said.
But Kieran said that, while thousands had seen the funny side, the state of Northern Ireland's roads was no laughing matter.
"The roads are in a terrible state. There are potholes everywhere and the roads service say they don't have the budgets to repair them all," he said.
Kieran had another close encounter with a pothole on the Maytown Road in Newry.
"I had to swerve to avoid a car coming in the opposite direction and it was only after I stopped and looked back that I realised the driver had swerved to avoid a very large pothole," he said.
Recent figures show nearly 2,000 vehicle damage claims were concluded between 2016 and November 2017, with almost £500,000 paid in compensation.