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Won’t touch the sides! £1m for potholes when Department sets aside £6m to tackle claims

Flooding and Potholes Armagh

Excuse me if you don’t see me jumping for joy!

That’s how one Armagh councillor greeted the announcement that £1m was going to be spent fixing Northern Ireland’s pothole pandemic.

But SDLP councillor, Thomas O’Hanlon, says that money could be spent in the Armagh district alone – and probably still wouldn’t be enough.

“DFI Roads Service need £143million each year for maintenance, that’s just to keep our roads at acceptable standard,” he said.

“Last year they were allocated just £85million – that’s a shortfall of £58million. [On Monday] Stormont announced £1 million to fix potholes, yet the same department has set aside £6 million for claims for damages to vehicles caused by potholes. Excuse me if you don’t see me jumping for joy!

“Any investment is welcome, but we could spend the £1 million on the rural roads around Armagh on its own.

Related: Thanks a million as Roads Minister pledges lump sum to tackle potholes nightmare

“That said, I spent the last couple of weekends driving up and down rural roads making my lists and reporting potholes, blocked drains, street lighting faults & flooding etc.

“I’ve covered parts of Granemore/ Tassagh, Carnagh/ Derrynoose, Madden / Milford, Tullysaran and Collegelands. Sometimes it’s reporting the same areas again and again, but eventually they get fed up with me moaning.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s transport spokesperson – and Newry and Armagh MLA – Cathal Boylan welcomed the influx of money.

“This is an important and quick intervention by the minister to invest in our roads, to address the backlog in road maintenance work and make our roads safer,” he said.

Speaking recently, Upper Bann MP, Carla Lockhart, urged motorists to seek compensation for damage caused by potholes.

The DUP representative said: “Considering compensation from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) for vehicle damage caused by potholes or road defects is crucial for several reasons.

“Seeking compensation helps individuals recover repair costs, alleviating financial burdens imposed by unexpected damages caused by the poor state of the road network. Repairs to cars, vans or other vehicles can run to hundreds and even thousands of pounds, and if this is caused by a road defect it is only right that those who are responsible for the maintenance of the roads are liable.

“The compensation process is there for that reason – to compensate people for damage caused. If anyone wishes to pursue this avenue, I am more than happy to advise as to the process and assist with any claim. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

“The clear preference is for DfI to better maintain the road network to avoid vehicle damage. I would urge the Department to repair roads faster, and more comprehensively. This will enhance road safety, and reduce compensation claims.”

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