True grit: politician gives rock salt for constituents to use on icy roads

Cllr Paddy Meade: ‘I filled the boot and the back seat of my car with as much as I could’

 

A Meath County Councillor has been taking grit without permission from a council depot and distributing it in his own electoral area for use during the current cold snap.

Fine Gael Cllr Paddy Meade has been driving around the Slane electoral area in recent days with a car-load of rock salt which he has been giving to his constituents.

He has been taking the grit without permission and Meath County Council has warned Mr Meade he is liable for any claims arising from accidents in areas where he has been gritting.

The councillor, who may contest Meath East in the next general election said: “I asked for the grit and I was refused so I took it anyway from the Navan depot because we’d so many icy and untreated roads in my area.”

“I filled the boot and the back seat of my car with as much as I could. As far as I’m concerned one-sixth of Meath’s population live in my area and we’re not getting our fair share of grit.

“Only two of the main roads in this area – the N2 and the N51 – are on the gritting route. Even Bru na Boinne interpretative centre is not on the route.”

Mr Meade said he has delivered 140 bags of grit all over the Slane area in recent days leaving them in pubs and shops for further distribution.

“I’ve left a number of bags in pubs and shops for anyone who wants them. I’ve been contacted by up to 80 groups including residents groups who want to use grit on their estate footpaths.

“I’d say most estates in Slane and Duleek now have bags of grit and I’ve been able to supply anyone who has asked me. I also got a call from a school in the area today, ahead of a further freeze forecast for the coming days.”

Mr Meade said he had told Meath County Council of his actions and was told he’d be responsible for any accidents that occurred in areas where he had left grit.

“After telling them I took it, the council told me I was 100% liable for any accident.”

Mr Meade said he wanted Meath Co Council to implement a rural and small village snow programme which would supply villages with gritting salt for community use and to also allow private companies to distribute grit.

“After personally delivering 140 bags of salt over the first few days of snow across the county, I have people and groups all over the area who are willing to put out salt in a managed way.”

“Meath County Council are working hard but it’s my belief they are seriously understaffed and need all the help they can get now.”

A spokesperson for the Meath County Council said: “Only authorised persons are permitted to enter a depot and any deviation from this protocol would have to be by prior arrangement with Council Officials, and having had due regard for the health and safety implications.

“With regard to ... Cllr. Meade, the full facts of the situation have yet to be established before any further comment is made by the Council.

“Meath County Council has in place a Winter Maintenance Plan, which includes the salting of designated routes, in response to forecasts from the national icecast system. These routes, together with information on safe driving on icy roads, may be viewed on the Council’s website (www.meath.ie).”