Roads staff not confined to depots due to budget cuts, says minister

Danny Kennedy. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Danny Kennedy. 'Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Roads maintenance staff are working a skeleton service, but are not confined to their depots as has been reported, the transport minister has said.

Danny Kennedy said he “wanted to assure the public” that all TransportNI industrial staff are fully employed – despite his department’s budget shortfall.

He said: “There have been reports that around 500 staff have been confined to depots because of the dire financial situation facing my department. This is simply not true.

“Staff are gainfully employed carrying out work such as grass cutting, some gully cleaning and patching road defects. This includes some work which would previously have been carried out by external contractors. There is a very small number of staff who are based in depots but this is for medical reasons and they are doing other work such as filling sandbags.”

Mr Kennedy added: “I accept that this is not the service people would normally expect but this is a consequence of my budget allocation. I will continue to deliver a reduced service until the outcome of the next monitoring round is known.”