Councillors recogniseTNI's hands are tied in terms of roads budget

DUP Alderman David Ramsey has indicated he won't stop '˜torturing' TransportNI over roads defects, grass verges and street lights in the months ahead.

However, he told a special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee on Tuesday that the reduced budget now being managed by TNI’s Western Division was clearly a political responsibility outwith the roads service’s control.

The Waterside DUP representative made the comments after TransportNI’s Western Divisional Roads Manager Conor Loughrey and its local Network Maintenance Section engineer, Robert McCartney, presented the committee with TNI’s Spring Report for the area.

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Alderman Ramsey commented: “Robert is well aware of the issues as I’m in contact with him on an almost daily basis about the Waterside.”

But the DUP representative said he was not going to use the briefing to criticise TNI for programming a season of reduced services due to the reduced budget that has been imposed upon it.

“We get it in the neck, and I will continue to torture you and keep raising these issues, but it’s not your responsibility to fix the budget.”

Alderman Ramsey thanked Mr. Loughrey and Mr. McCartney for their ‘truthfulness’ in presenting the report.

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He said it was another example underlining the necessity of resurrecting a local power-sharing Executive.

“Lets be clear that direct rule is going to be no better as we will have no say,” he said.

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney also accepted the difficulties the department was labouring under.

“I’m not really surprised that in the introduction there is talk about funding being reduced. Unfortunately it is a difficulty faced across all departments,” the SDLP Colr. commented.