WITH fresh frosts and snow this past week, the number of potholes Fermanagh motorists are having to manoeuvre around is growing by the day, along with the risk of dangers they pose.
There was palpable anger over the situation at Enniskillen Townhall last Tuesday night, when local councillors demanded Transport NI chief’s come to account for the current state of our roads.
“The roads are in an awful state, I’ve never seen them so bad,” said Cllr Paul Robinson, describing the potholes on some roads as “craters” during the monthly meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council at Enniskillen Townhall last week.
Every councillor was now being contacted by angry constituents on a daily basis, said Cllr Patricia Rogers.
“It has got to be abominable,” she said. “Cars are being wrecked. We can’t accept this much longer.”
Cllr Alex Baird raised questions about the current system of repair, where workers from the Department of Infrastructure only fill in the potholes they are alerted to, even if there is another one right beside it.
Stating the situation was now dangerous, Cllr Baird said: “When you’re driving you are always looking out for other drivers when going around corners and so on, but now you have to constantly look for potholes too.
“It’s OK during the day, but at night you can’t see if it’s a pothole or a puddle.”
Cllr Raymond Farrell said his daughter had burst a tyre on a pothole one night recently, and pointed out how £500,000 had been paid out each year in compensation to drivers whose cars had been damaged.
Cllr Brian McCaffrey encouraged more people to claim compensation from the Department if their car was damaged.
“If you do damage to your car, you need to follow the claim through,” he said. “Don’t just download the forms. If people were claiming what they should be we’d have less of a problem.”
It was agreed by the Council to write to western divisional manager with Transport NI, Conor Loughrey, requesting he attends a meeting with councillors so they can express their views on the ongoing problem.
‘Roads were better under Soviets’
The roads in the former Soviet Bloc were better under Communism than Fermanagh’s roads are under capitalism, according to one local councillor.
Speaking at the February meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in Enniskillen Townhall last week, where the subject of potholes and poor road surfacing envoked a passionate discussion among councillors, Cllr Seamus Greene said roads in 1990s Bulgaria were better than our own.
“I’m no globetrotter, but I was in Bulgaria 20 years ago when they were just coming out of communism,” said Cllr Greene, while bemoaning Tory austerity.
“Their roads were better after communism than ours are after captialism.” Cllr Howard Thornton disagreed, however, questioning which Bulgarian roads Cllr Greene had been travelling on.
“As having been resident in Bulgaria for two-and-a-half years, all I can say is he mustn’t have travelled the length and breadth of Bulgaria like I have,” he said.