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Shock figures reveal £356,000 paid in claims in a year due to state of borough roads

A total of 3,599 claims for compensation were made for personal injury and vehicle and property damage with more than half proving successful

Annareagh Road pothole Richhill
This huge pothole at Richhill was only fixed recently after DUP Alderman Gareth Wilson reported it multiple times.

The Department for Infrastructure paid out over £350,000 in public liability claims in the ABC Borough in just a year.

The staggering figure was revealed by Departmental bosses in response to questions raised by local representatives.

The figures relate to the 2022/23 financial year and, as expected, the majority of claims were lodged for damage to vehicles caused as a result of potholes and other road defects.

In all, the Department for Infrastructure was forced to fork out £356,197.59.

While not able to break down figures for each district electoral area, the feedback did indicate that the majority – £295,307.72 – related to the ‘east’ of the borough, basically Banbridge and Craigavon.

The west, meanwhile – namely Armagh – saw claims made to the tune of £60,889.87.

The claims relate to personal injury, vehicle damage and property damage, with a total of 3,599 submissions. Most – 2,784 – related to damage caused to vehicles, with 681 personal injury and 134 for property damage.

More than half of those claims made were found to be correct and successful.

A total of 1,945 claims were upheld. Once again, most of these related to damage caused to vehicles, a hefty 1,689 payouts to be precise.

In addition, 237 personal injury and 19 property damage claims were settled.

The Department for Infrastructure recently attended a meeting of ABC Council and admitted that it did not have the budget to ensure that roads were of the standards which the law required.

And it also said that a shortage of staff was also having an impact on inspections of roads and, as a result, repairs being carried out.

Among those previously venting their anger at the state of local roads was former Ulster Unionist Lord Mayor Glenn Barr.

He had described the number of potholes on the borough’s roads as “absolutely shocking” and added: “The amount of cars breaking their wheels and suspensions due to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) not being able to fill potholes is unreal.

“And when they do manage to fill them, they are using cheap stuff that after two days is cracked again.”

And DUP group leader Alderman Mark Baxter, speaking at the start of this financial year, had remarked: “I am giving the NI Direct claim link out for people who get their vehicles damaged on a daily basis now,” he said.

“I don’t know what is going on at that department, the staff are very good, you report the potholes and they say ‘we will do what we can’ and they talk about budgetary constraints but the budgets are the same as they are every year.

“When there was no government for three years here the potholes weren’t as bad. It is a nonsense to blame it on not having ministers. The permanent secretary has it within his gift to dish out budgets to get these roads fixed.

“I dare say it is a lot cheaper to fix the potholes than it is to fix alloy rims and springs on the front of people’s cars. It is a downright disgrace and everybody here, as an elected representative, has probably never had as many complaints.”

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