The following is the text of a speech made by Deputy Danny Healy Rae during Leaders Questions in Dáil Éireann last week.
Deputy Healy Rae highlighted a few important issues to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the course of his speaking opportunity.
Cannot Attract Jobs
“I am glad to get this opportunity to highlight the lack of provision of jobs, infrastructure and services in Kerry.
We cannot attract jobs and investment into our county because we simply do not have proper access.
We have been waiting for the Macroom bypass for more than 40 years.
We do not have adequate broadband or mobile phone coverage in many parts of our county.
Bad Roads from Blackwater to Scartaglin
Many roads are sub-standard. To mention just a few, the roads from Blackwater Bridge to Sneem, Killarney to Gneevgullia and those around Scartaglin are in a desperate state.
The Rathmore to Killarney road, a national secondary road, is in a desperate state.
Many roads in north Kerry around Ballyduff, Kilmoyly, Lixnaw and Abbeydorney are in a desperate state. Many of our bridges are not fit for purpose, allowing only one lane for heavy traffic. Listry, Curraheen and the Caragh bridges were built more than 200 years ago.
Funding for local improvement schemes has been suspended since 2011. Of these, 123 were approved in 2007 and there are in excess of 600 waiting to be assessed by Kerry County Council.
Entitled to Good Roads
The people on these roads in Kerry are as much entitled to a good road to their doors as the people in Dublin 4.
These are all public roads, contrary to what the Department and others claim. Many of them were actually built by the local authority.
Seven years’ shortfall in funding for maintenance means that many roads are waterlogged and ponding makes many of them unsafe in wet weather.
We do not have enough money now to fill the potholes. Many roadside hedges are not being cut and none will be cut until 1 September, meaning that all the spring and summer growth will not be touched until then. It is a health and safety matter.
Whatever about the birds and inside the ditches, all roadside hedges should be cut all year round.
Huge Job Losses
Many areas have suffered huge job losses, such as Castleisland, Kenmare, Cahersiveen and Tralee. All of north Kerry would benefit if the Shannon LNG project was allowed to go ahead by the regulator over whom nobody seems to have control.
Rural Kerry has been affected by cuts of 53% to the Leader programme. Worse still, we have had no programme since 2013.
Restrictive planning guidelines are preventing young people from putting a roof over their heads.
Castleisland Waiting for Sewage Connection
Many towns and villages do not have any public sewerage scheme.
One third of Castleisland has been waiting more than 30 years to be connected to the public sewerage system.
Kilcummin has been waiting more than 20 years when it has been promised many times. Scartaglin, Curragh, Caherdaniel, Castlecove and Cloghane all have no public sewerage systems with health and safety compromised.
Many people are trapped in their homes due to rural isolation.
The proposal by the Government to reduce the alcohol limit further will impact adversely on people in rural areas.
It is a big difference for these people from those in urban areas. Many people in rural areas would not get to know their neighbours were dead if it were not for Radio Kerry.
In spite of all these impediments, Kerry and Kerry people are still the best in the world and everyone is still welcome to Kerry at all times.”
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